Jack and Jill – Review

Jack and Jill – Review

By FilmfellaDarren – 2/10

In funny people, Adam Sandler’s last half decent film, there is a moment where Sandler looks at a mock movie poster of himself ludicrously made up to be a mermaid, and makes a self-deprecating comment; it’s a scene where Sandler shows some self-awareness that his career has fallen from funny to farcical, the scene plays like a cry for help, in which Sander is calling out to directors to see what Paul Thomas Anderson once saw in Sandler when he cast him in the excellent Punch drunk love, and rescue him from low-rent fodder. Well, that feeling didn’t last long, as here is Sandler back again in goofy nonsense, gurning like a chimpanzee, hamming it up in a totally embarrassing way, frolicking about in the kind of frumpy frocks seemingly left over from John Travolta after his cross-dressing musical Hairspray. Words can’t describe how bad this is – in more ways than one, this is a complete drag.

The story In Jack and Jill is so wafer thin and idiotic that it makes the story in the original children’s nursery rhyme look positively nuanced and deep in comparison to this brainless tripe. Whilst you are watching this, you yearn for a moment as dramatic as when Jack went up a hill to fetch a pale of water. We don’t get anything as interesting as that though here; we get an unbearable caricature of a women Jill (Sandler), who visits his/her brother Jack (also Sandler). She is designed to be irritating and over-the-top so she drives her brother – as well as the audience – completely crazy. Her brother is a Californian commercial director, who desperately hopes to pull-off the most unlikely commercial casting by getting Al Pacino to star in his cheesy commercial for a well-known doughnut company. He obviously doesn’t stand a chance of snagging the acting heavy-weight, but wait…. what’s that. Pacino inexplicably enters the film, lays eyes on Jill, and is mystifyingly intoxicated by the odorous scent of a (very stinky) women. Can Jack use Jill to entice Pacino to make cheap and puerile nonsense? You betcha as I’ll repeat, Al Pacino is actually in the film.

Yes, Al Pacino is actually in the film – all the time in fact, this is not just a cameo. The thin, silly, plot is written around Pacino being in the film. Without Pacino, the film wouldn’t exist – thank you Pacino.  Not only is he in the film, for the entire running time, he is in the film making cringe-worthy come-on eyes at Sandler in his dresses. In fact, the only justification for Sandler to go and join the long list of clueless comedians who have donned silly wigs and female attire to make lazy cross-dressing comedies, is that someone managed to convince Pacino that this if funny. It’s not funny Al. it’s embarrassing. How did they get you to do this? Did they put you on medication? Did they take you off medication? Did they threaten your family? Did you discover Tony Montana’s coke stash? What urged you to shred your dignity in this silly and unfunny crap? For me, this film is more of a mystery than a comedy, as I sat there trying to work out how they convinced a serious  acting legend in Al Pacino to make fun of himself in such a gormless way.  The mystery turns to horror as the film progresses and you see Al, starring as himself, haplessly trying to woo Sandler in a dress. You sit there wondering how low is Al going to go here? Is he going to kiss Sandler in a dress?  Is he going to get his arse out? Or maybe he is going to make us say hello to his little friend?

If you do go and see this, you’ll stare at Al Pacino’s disastrous career suicide attempt, watching with the same dumbfound horror that you might reserve for a family member if they were ever to be unfortunate to have an alcohol induced nervous-breakdown at a family party.

It’s clear that Al Pacino wants to follow in the footsteps of De Niro and send his image up a bit. But this is badly mis- judged from Mr P; he allows Sandler to mock him and his image under the mistaken impression that it’s hilarious. Al is wound too tightly for comedy but there is room for him to be self-deprecating, but in a film with a far wittier script than this. Seeing Sandler make fun of Pacino seemed about as likely as say, seeing a Stephan Baldwin film starring Jack Nicholson, in which Baldwin makes derisive cracks at Nicholson’s persona and back-catalogue. But that doesn’t exist and if it did, it wouldn’t be funny as Baldwin has no right to mock Nicholson. Somehow a film where Sandler sends-up up Pacino does exist. Sandler, hasn’t earned the right to mock Pacino therefore, this is not funny, it’s tragic.

Away from Pacino’s ill-judged role, the low-brow ‘comedy’ is predictably lame-brained and tired. We get a script desperately scraping the bottom of the barrel with excruciating bodily function gags about ear-wax; bowel movements and BO – jokes so brain-dead that even a nine-year-old wouldn’t find them funny. You can’t stay away from Pacino in this for long though, as back he pops doing something as incredulous as writhing around in a sweat patch, as Sandler almost looks to the camera with an expression suggesting something like this, ‘I might have worn a dress for cheap laughs and a pay-check, but look what I made Pacino do?

What little plot there is simply doesn’t work, as  Sandler as Jill is so teeth-gratingly irritating that you feel her brother, who is suggested to be the bad guy for disliking her, has a right to dislike her; she’s just insufferable. When the film attempts to pull the heart-strings and make you feel sympathy for her with maudlin music – the film is just unbearable. No one in their right mind would want to see Sandler in a dress – with the exception of Al Pacino of course.

Like the film, this review is highly dominated with Pacino’s genuinely shocking appearance. If you think all the silly, juvenile flirtations with Sandler were intolerable wait till you see what toe-curling idiocy Pacino indulges in later.  There is a scene where Pacino does a full on song and dance routine – including a squirm-inducing rap – endorsing a well-known brand of doughnut. Not only is it the most excruciating piece of product placement in a film ever, it completes Pacino’s astonishing sell-out. The scene is presumably supposed to be subversive and ironic – it does not come off ironically at all. Pacino might as well have done the commercial for real it is so un-ironic Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homer Simpson sold his soul for a doughnut? Let’s just say, Pacino has followed in the footsteps of Homer Simpson.

Forget Jack and Jill, it’s Al Pacino who falls down and breaks his crown in this dire film. Pretty much ninety-seven per cent of the jokes in Jack and Jill badly misfire. Sandler is of course intolerable– even for die-hard fans –  and yet there are two of him, one in a dress. You’ll rub your eyes in disbelieve when you see how much of a fool Al Pacino looks whilst humiliating himself, farcing about as he does in a role that even Rob Schneider might turn down for being too low-brow and un-dignifying. The film has to be seen to believed, but please, for the love of god, don’t see it or it will make money and some other A-list star might be tempted to lose his mind and star in the lowest of low rent nonsense. If Pacino had done the part wearing a jester wig; clown make-up and appeared naked from the waist down, he couldn’t have looked more foolish than he does in Jack and Jill. He’s in for a dog day afternoon when he realizes his error of judgement here.

Written by @filmfelladarren 

If you must see a cross dressing comedy this month, ignore this and seek out:

Kind hearts and Coronets 

Tootsie 

The adventures of Priscilla queen of the desert. 

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About Filmfella Darren
Film critic, writer and long-time cinema appreciator. I write about cinema matters, because cinema matters. Like your clothes and your laptops, my articles were made in Taiwan.

2 Responses to Jack and Jill – Review

  1. Katannya says:

    Wow, that has got to be the most scathing review I have ever read. It almost makes me want to watch the film to see if it what something that terrible looks like. However, as I trust the Film Fellas, I’m going to save my money.
    As far as films suggested at the end in the cross-dressing genre, might I also recommend TransAmerica? Nice film.

  2. Filmfella Darren says:

    Thanks for your comments Katannya I’m pleased you trust The Filmfellas judgment. Your comments are always welcome. I often find the mainstream press are too scared to really tear a bad film apart as they don’t want to lose access to the studios and the stars. The independent critic however has no such qualms – I’m not going to get a rude letter from the studios or Mr Pacino – i’d welcome a response from them as I’d like to see them explain how they expect people to pay good money to see this utter garbage. I haven’t seen TransAmerica, but I know about the film and do want to watch it. Another film that features a great use of transvestism is the Spanish film All about my mother.

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