Movie review: 'Jack and Jill'
I can appreciate stupid humor and absurd moments as easily as I can admire Adam Sandler. But I can't help asking what the heck has happened to the guy who made "The Wedding Singer" and "50 First Dates." Long gone, apparently, having followed up a succession of turkeys like "Just Go With It," "Grown Ups," "Click" and "Bedtime Stories" with his latest moronic comedy "Jack and Jill."
There's not one funny moment in it, though the audience I saw it with was rolling in laughter. I should have had what they were smoking because I didn't crack a smile once. I cringed through all 89 painful minutes of a production injected with a double dose of Sandler.
Playing siblings, Jack and Jill, Sandler regretfully appears in every poorly conceived scene. It's a tossup over who's more obnoxious: Jack, a suburban Los Angeles father of two working as a television commercial director; or Jill, his abrasive, socially awkward twin sister, who comes to visit Jack during Thanksgiving then never leaves. She's needy, and homely, to boot. And the longer she stays, the more Jack's wife (Katie Holmes) is forced to referee as Jill issues demands for more "twin time" and he lobbies for her to return home to the Bronx.
In the meantime, Jack is charged with a do-or-die task: secure Al Pacino (playing himself) for a Dunkin' Donuts spot. As Jack tries to make Pacino happen, the once-great actor, who must have really needed the money, falls for a disinterested Jill. Jack is faced with selling out his sister for personal gain. You can smell the redemption coming from the time Jack picks up Jill at LAX. To arrive there, though, it's a long slog.
Sandler brings along a few of his regulars - Nick Swardson, Norm MacDonald, Tim Meadows - as well as his longtime director of choice, Dennis Dugan ("Happy Gilmore," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"). There's also a slew of celebrity cameos provided by Johnny Depp, Dan Patrick, Christie Brinkley, Regis Philbin, Billy Blanks, Bruce Jenner and former NFL players Michael Irvin and Bill Romanowski (both of whom were in Sandler's "The Longest Yard"). Inserting these folks might seem clever to Sandler's core audience of childish morons, but all it does is highlight the fact that the screenplay by Steve Koren ("Bruce Almighty") is dim-witted at best. All these cameos scream, "We have no story to tell, so we'll amuse the masses with famous folks who have nothing to do with the plot."
What passes for comedy is per usual: sweat stains, farting, butt blowouts, precocious children, toothless grannies, characters being knocked cold, crotch scratching, hairy armpits, John McEnroe in a tirade (which I'm not even sure the target audience will get.)
Two things were amusing - Depp wearing a Justin Bieber T-shirt courtside at a Lakers game and Pacino mocking his one Academy Award win. "You'd think I have more," Pacino says after Jill accidentally breaks the Oscar statuette.
Lest you think I hate Sandler, I will still watch the sophomoric "Billy Madison" every time it's on cable. That's hard to admit. But we know Sandler can really act with surprising vulnerability ("Punch-Drunk Love"). I just wish he would tap back into the gifted comic we know he can be and stop spewing garbage like "Jack and Jill."
Dana Barbuto may be reached at email@example.com.
JACK AND JILL (PG for for crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence and brief smoking.) Cast includes Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes and Al Pacino. 1/2 star out of 4 stars.