By Michelle McGlynn
Jack and Jill. As children we never dreamed those three little words from an innocuous little nursery rhyme could lead to such pain, anguish and torture. At times I thought I might just cry, but then I realised that my tear ducts had left the cinema following the Mexican food/diarrhea scene.
The plot of this movie, using the word plot in the loosest of terms, is that Jack and Jill (both, of course, played by Adam Sandler) are twins. Throughout their childhood Jack got all the praise, attention and friends while Jill was just his awkward twin that no one really wanted to be around. Now they are adults, Jack is married with two children and has a successful career in advertising. Jill still lives in their home in Brooklyn and has found herself on her own after their mother passed away. Jill spends the holidays with Jack and his family so she won’t be alone, much to Jack’s dismay. Of course, the ‘hilarity and hi-jinx’ of an Adam Sandler film ensue, including Al Pacino (who plays himself) falling for Jill and getting Jack to encourage the relationship in exchange for appearing in a Dunkin’ Donuts advert.
Ninety-one minutes has never, ever felt so long. I had to will myself throughout not to look at my watch. That way I could convince myself it would soon be over and I could begin my recovery. The film didn’t so much as draw a half-hearted smile. The entire film is based on the idea that Adam Sandler putting on a wig and wearing a dress is funny. The inherent problem with this is that it is not. But do not be alarmed. Just in case you spotted that Adam Sandler in drag was not humorous they have plenty to fall back on. Oh yes, there are fart jokes, sweat jokes and racial stereotyping as far as the eye can see. Yes, it is no wonder that it took three, yes three writers to come up with this comedy gold.
We expect nothing from Adam Sandler these days, he had his time in the mid to late nineties when he made some hit films but nothing of note in the last decade. Even expecting nothing from him, this film manages to fall short of expectation. On this feat, I feel he should be commended.
Katie Holmes is someone who, despite getting roles in a couple of great films like Batman Begins and Wonderboys, never keeps the momentum going. Even in these roles, she is nothing special and is not really an actress of any note. So to see her playing Jack’s wife Erin is no real shock. Her role in this film is mostly forgettable, which in this case is actually a blessing.
In this film, Jack and Erin have two children. Gary (Rohan Chand) is adopted and the film goes to great lengths to make him seem weird. His adopted sister Sofia (Elodie Tougne) constantly carries a doll and the two wear matching outfits. What I find disturbing about Sofia’s character is that her behavior is how I imagine Katie Holmes’s real life daughter Suri might behave. I also question the judgement of the parents of Rohan and Elodie for allowing their children to participate in this horrendous excuse for a movie.
Is there anybody out there who can fathom why Al Pacino would agree to being in this film? No matter how I think about it I can find no plausible explanation. The premise alone should send any self respecting actor sprinting in the other direction. His work in recent years has not been especially great but Jack and Jill has to be crossing some kind of line. To add insult to injury, Pacino quotes The Godfather. Now, The Godfather is a classic and therefore it becomes fair game for any film to quote or pay homage to. You’ve Got Mail springs to mind. But something about Pacino himself defiling the classic trilogy makes it infinitely worse. Not only is the film itself terrible, but Pacino does nothing to lift it. His performance is on par with the script. Not even a marathon including The Godfather trilogy, Scarface and Dog Day Afternoon can erase the memory of this movie.
Additional cameos include David Spade also dressed as a woman and Johnny Depp as himself. Depp’s appearance is brief but nonetheless disappointing as he sits court-side at a basketball match with a Justin Bieber shirt peering through the opening of his jacket. Is this supposed to send the audience into uproarious laughter? The reaction is closer to disgust. Perhaps Sandler held the families of Pacino and Depp hostage? There is no need to wonder why Spade was present. To call him a comedian is the closest he will ever get to being funny.
In the final scene, Pacino and Jack are discussing the advert they filmed together. Pacino says that it should be destroyed, that they should never speak of it again and that no one outside that room should ever have to watch it. I put it to Al Pacino now, why did you not do the world this courtesy in relation to Jack and Jill?
Do not go to see this movie. Not even out of curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat and it will destroy your soul. I would suggest recommending it to an ex that cheated on you. Or someone who really made your life hell. Maybe Enda Kenny.