Jack and Jill: "One of the worst movies I've ever seen"
Published: Friday, November 18, 2011 - 4:51pm
Released: 11 November 2011
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Run Time: 93 minutes
I certainly wasn't expecting an Oscar-worthy piece of cinema when I attended "Jack and Jill" over the weekend. After all, with the seemingly constant decline of Adam Sandler projects and the terrible stigma that comes with "guy in a fatsuit" movies "Jack and Jill" was almost guaranteed to be awful. Even still, this movie managed to resonate so terribly with me that I would rank it among some of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life.
The initial setup should sound familiar to anyone who's seen an Adam Sandler movie in the past ten years: Adam Sandler stars as a schlubby dad with an inexplicably beautiful wife (played by Katie Holmes , an actress 13 years younger than Sandler), 2 excitable kids, and an extravagantly affluent lifestyle. Sandler's character, Jack, is on edge because his annoying and overbearing twin sister, Jill, is visiting for the holidays. This twin, unfortunately, is also played by Sandler, this time in drag and a fatsuit.
The film spends half its time making jokes about how socially incapable and disgusting Jill is. This would be fine as a concept for an unimportant popcorn flick, except the other half of the film is spent trying to get the audience to sympathize with her plight of being unable to find a man. The film utterly fails on all levels because the audience can't feel for a character who just yelled "I'M DROPPING CHIMICHANGA BOMBS!!!" to the sounds of explosive diarrhea.
The other plot focus of the film is Jack's advertising business. Apparently, Dunkin' Doughnuts is threatening to drop him as an advertising agent unless he signs Al Pacino to advertise their new "Dunk-a-cino" drink. Luckily for Jack, Pacino has fallen in love with his irritating and flatulent twin.
Pacino spends the entire movie mugging for the camera and chewing the scenery like his life depended on it. Playing himself, Pacino displays a strange mix of homicidal insanity and frustrating stupidity. One scene in particular seems to capture my reaction to Pacino's involvement. While teaching Jill how to play stick-ball, Pacino inadvertently destroys the Oscar he has sitting on his mantle. The unintended symbolism is beyond perfect.
Another sequence I couldn't go without mentioning is when the family's Hispanic gardener takes Jill to a family picnic. The 10 minutes that followed were nothing short of a minstrel show, ranging from a montage of generic Americanized stereotypes of Mexican immigrants to a horrifyingly racist caricature of a Hispanic grandmother. Some of the stereotypes displayed don't even make sense, with the grandmother inexplicably devouring handfuls of jalapenos at every opportunity.
The only positive mark I can find for the film is that the editing and cinematography was able to seamlessly hide the fact that Sandler was playing both the main characters. Although it is always an impressive feat on the part of the technical staff, I don't feel this single mark of quality could even remotely redeem this film in my eyes. For in the end, when a crazed maniac in drag runs up and stabs you in the chest while shouting racist sentiments, you aren't going to forgive the action because his dress was stylish.
This film is awful. It made me literally sick to my stomach at points, and I was quite tempted to demand my money back. I want to assure you that this is not in fact a "so-bad-it's-good" film, that becomes laughable with its level of mistakes. This is a much more dangerous breed of film: the "so-bad-it's-painful" film.
I've seen many bad movies in my time. I've seen one in which vegetarian goblins devour humans by turning them into trees. I've seen another in which a murderous leprechaun takes violent and comical revenge on people living in an urban ghetto. I've even seen a film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes artificially impregnated. These films were terrible, but I assure you, "Jack and Jill" is much, MUCH worse.