Al Pacino saves the day, or in this case, 95 minutes of what 1991’s Double Impact would have been like if it wasn’t an action flick. Plus, how funny – or ironic – is it that this Adam Sandler cross-dressing comedy opens the same day as J. Edgar? Happy Madison…always thinking.
Except in this comedy; which may be the most off-kilter movie in recent memory. One minute you’re SUPPOSED to be laughing and the very next you feel completely sorry for a character. And in between all that are fart jokes and bits that would only please the Sandler loyal and/or kids in the public school system…in the South. Yet with all that being said, somehow Jack and Jill garners a few chuckles in all its misguided randomness.
Jack (Adam Sandler) is a commercial director out in Los Angeles. The guy does fairly well for himself career-wise, but must pull off a miracle not lose his biggest client, Dunkin Donuts. You see the franchise wants Jack to lure the great Al Pacino into doing their next big promotion. Since Jack has no way of reaching Pacino, he begins to panic. But that’s not what bogs down his mind the most at the moment.
His single and obnoxious twin sister, Jill (Adam Sandler in drag), is coming to town for a few days and let’s just say she has a knack for driving him crazy. While his two young kids (Elodie Tougne & Rohan Chand) adore their awkward Aunt Jill, Jack’s wife, Erin (Katie Holmes) is urging him to keep it together and be sensitive to his lonely sister.
Well as the two bicker and say hurtful things to each other, it turns out that Al Pacino has a thing for Jill. Jack notices this as well, and despite Pacino’s persistent and psycho advances on his aloof sister, Jack tries to steer this in the right direction in order to book the heralded, and unpredictable, actor for his commercial.
The heart of the script is seeing how the two siblings can come together and put aside their differences around the holiday season. It’s just done in such a generic fashion that it begs the question of what’s the point. When the story isn’t unfolding at Jack’s nice mansion, there are sequences on cruise ships, restaurants, and even inside Pacino’s humble abode. And this particular Sandler production may have set a record for cameos (Johnny Depp, Regis Philbin, Shaquille O’Neal, John McEnroe etc., all playing themselves) along with his Saturday Night Live cohorts (Tim Meadows, Norm MacDonald, Dana Carvey, and David Spade – who you may not recognize), and his usual Happy Madison folk. There are also a slew of other celebs that show up for no apparent reason other than to keep the audience people watching. And that applies to all of the above mentioned save for Spade and surprisingly Johnny Depp, who try to do a little something in their brief scenes. In the end though, the only reason to pay any money to see this sucker is Al Pacino.
Pacino is unhinged and makes the most out of nothing. In all the cameos where the actors have portrayed themselves, this ranks right up there with Bill Murray’s in a relatively recent horror-spoof. Pacino is carrying this piece just as much as Sandler is carrying fake breasts and assorted pockets of a fat suit. Sandler is recalling one of his old character voices from one his famed comedy CDs from the ‘90s in acting out Jill. And even though his (or her) facial expressions are at times priceless, the bit is severely under-developed. This becomes evident after a struggling extended dinner table convo that never strikes the right chord. Hell, it can barely find the right octave. The only aspect to admire is how clean the CG is when both normal Sandler and drag Sandler are in the same shot. It really does look like two different actors are at work.
Overall, Jack and Jill is a royally confused on whether it wants to be a holiday movie or a typical post- Big Daddy Happy Madison production. One minute it is ruthless and cruel and the next its stereotypical Sandler material (which can still draw out a smile here and there). Obviously, they tried to do both yet it never comes together at all. If one takes pleasure in going through sudden mood swings during their movie-watching, then this could be your cinematic Christmas present. Again though, Al Pacino works wonders and his presence alone enables this shattered and lackluster screenplay to be tolerable.
I can’t wait to see the final cut.
Rating: 2 out of 5