Adam Sandler had a moment there where he seemed to have found what made him a great funnyman and showed that he had acting chops. And though he’d been great before, that moment was around 2008 and 2009 when he made You Don’t Mess With the Zohan and Funny People, but since then he seems to have regressed. After Funny People didn’t work, he’s now making the movies he made fun of in Funny People. Sandler churns out a movie or two a year with his crew of regulars (which includes director Dennis Dugan, Allen Covert, Nick Swarsdon, Jonathan Loughran, Peter Dante and a peppering of his old SNL chums), and in Jack and Jill all the familiar faces show up while Sandler plays twins – with one of the twins being a girl! Cross-dressing is an old comic trope, but Sandler and company do little with it. The film’s saving grace is Al Pacino playing himself. Our review of Jack and Jill on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Jack Sadelstein (Sandler) is a successful ad agency guy who’s rich and happily married to Erin (Katie Holmes in one of the least interesting female leads in a Sandler film – she has nothing to do). His sister Jill (Sandler) looks like him but a female version, talks in an annoying voice, and doesn’t seem to understand how humans interact. Jill comes out from the Bronx to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, but when Jack can’t hide his contempt for her, she insists that she stays (in a way that comes across as pure manipulation) through Hanukkah. Jack needs to land a Dunkin’ Donuts account with Al Pacino their wanted spokes, but when he goes to a Lakers game to get close to Pacino, Al unexpectedly gets the hots for Jill. But then Jill goes on a date with Felipe (Eugenio Derbez), who is a plot point love interest that allows her to reject Pacino’s advances. How far will Jack go to get the account? Sandler’s SNL buds Norm McDonald, Tim Meadows, and David Spade cameo and Johnny Depp shows up wearing a Justin Beiber shirt.
Look, Sandler has gotten exceptionally lazy as an artist, and the runaway success of Grown Ups did nothing but encourage him to make dreck. That said, Jack and Jill is his lowest grossing comedy (that’s not Funny People) in fifteen years. Even 1998’s The Wedding Singer outperformed this film. Likely it was the appearance of Sandler in drag doing a silly voice, which didn’t have the comic energy of – say – Eddie Murphy in multiple characters ala The Nutty Professor. Make no mistake, the 11 Razzie nominations for this film aren’t entirely an error. It’s not a good film.
Though Sandler doesn’t do anything interesting in the movie, Al Pacino is the most awake and interesting he’s been in years, and he really enjoys playing a version of himself. All the funniest stuff in the movie involves him, and there’s a great running gag about his inability to speak foreign languages. He’s so committed to his character that it enlivens a film that barely has a narrative. And Jill is such a terrible, lazy creation that when the film tries to show that she’s a decent human being it works against the film. You want the film to have follow through, and not give her some sort of redemptive arc, but the writing is so lazy her best traits aren’t shown until it’s narratively convenient. And when Jack realizes that he does love his sister, it doesn’t make any sense from what we’ve witnessed on screen. But whatever, it’s 91 minutes long.
Though the Sandler machine has supposedly gotten expensive, it’s likely that the film made money because there is such a ridiculous onslaught of product placement. From Pepto-Bismol, to ocean liners, to Oreos and Dunkin Donuts, this film is saturated with enough corporate logos to have covered the bottom line.
Sony’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The presentation is as good as theatrical, and the Blu-ray edition comes with a DVD and digital copy. The disc comes with 13 deleted scenes (19 min.), which is followed by the gag reel “Laughing is Contagious” (4 min.). The rest of supplements are featurettes: “Look Who Stopped By” (9 min.) talks about the film’s numerous cameos, and it’s followed by “Boys Will Be Girls” (4 min.) which talks about the cross-dressing. “Stomach Ache” (4 min.) covers the opening fake commercial, while “Don’t Call It A Boat – Royal Caribbean” (3 min.) is basically an ad for Royal Caribbean. The supplements aren’t that interesting, but then… this movie.