Jack and Jill: A Review

Adam Sandler comedies are not a perfect science. Some people have bashed his films for being too juvenile while some critics have tagged his style as unoriginal but I think it’s just a matter of an acquired taste. If he can tickle your funny bone, then chances are, he will be able to do it again over and over when he does the same tricks in all his movies.  Its his trademark. His latest offering Jack and Jill, is no different. It’s a classic Adam Sandler and Co. popcorn movie with the sole intent of getting a laugh no matter what it takes.

Jack and Jill is a buddy comedy about twins Jack Sadlestein, a big shot commercial director who runs his own advertising company, and his obnoxious sister Jill, a single forty-something whom Jack considers the thorn on his side since they were little. Every year, Jill flies over to LA to spend the holidays with Jack and his family and this simply drives Jack nuts. Worse, Jill is oblivious to the fact that her brother hates her and seems to relish their ‘connection’ as twins at every opportunity. After their mother passes away, Jill decides to extend her ‘vacation’ at Jack’s home and manages to catch the fancy of Hollywood A-lister Al Pacino,  who Jack desperately needs to do a commercial for his client. As a result,  he agrees to help Al woo Jill and is left with no choice but to  let tag along his family’s cruise trip.

Adam Sandler plays two roles in this movie — the rather normal Jack, who is embarrassed about how uncouth his sister is for the most part, and Jill, an over the top spinster, who covers up her insecurities with her big personality and even bigger hips. As Jack, Adam is mildly entertaining but as Jill, while mildly annoying, he was still rather funny. I think Jill is a very effective character because her antics make audiences (myself included) cringe as if they are putting themselves in Jack’s shoes.  However, the characters are really not very original and banks merely on their relatability to siblings who can’t stand each other. Jill, in fact, has irritating characteristics that we see in some of our family members. Only with her, its magnified by 10 and all rolled into one.

What really made this movie for me was Al Pacino. The guy is a brilliant actor, no doubt about it, but people are just too used to seeing him in serious and dramatic roles. In playing himself and portraying himself as an eccentric method actor with quirky tastes in women, he totally broke through his persona and poked fun at himself and other Hollywood A-listers who are preoccupied with their own celebrity status. Pacino totally sold himself as a quirky old school superstar and his obsession with Jill was a riot, to say the least. He committed himself to comedy and he kept at it and I appreciate him for being such a good sport. There are also guests roles for many of Adam Sandler’s friends, as well as his real life kids Sadie and Sunny (kids playing jump rope in the ship). Johnny Depp is even featured in a cameo role  during a Lakers’ game.

What I really love about Adam Sandler movies is that there is always a redeeming value at the end that makes audiences, yes, even parents, forgive him for the genuine shallowness of the gags, and the very basic plot of the movie (Come on, you don’t really see Sandler movies for moments of reflaction or dramatic extravaganzas). This time, it speaks about the connection that brothers and sisters share and the importance of family. At the end of the day, love will prevail over the bad times.

All in all, Jack and Jill, while not as hilarious as earlier Adam Sandler starrers, still gets a thumbs up from me.