If you’re not easily offended by Adam Sandler’s usual schtick of toilet humor and racist jokes, you’ll find there’s plenty laughs in Jack and Jill. The film sees Sandler perform double duty as Jack, a successful ad-filmmaker in LA, and Jill, his twin sister from the Bronx who comes visiting the family for Thanksgiving.
Sandler’s terrific in the film’s early portions playing sarcastic, straight-faced Jack, but as the whining, self-pitying Jill, he’s just…a drag. The problem is: no efforts are made to present Jill as a real character; it’s just Sandler wearing women’s clothes and talking in a silly voice. The filmmakers might be too lazy to do something about that, but they obviously recognize the problem, and address it in a comical scene in which a character peeks under Jill’s skirt to make sure she’s not a man.
Because it’s hard to take Jill seriously as a real person, your heart never really goes out to her, although she’s clearly meant to be the victim here – the poor, unwanted sister that nobody loves. You find yourself rooting instead for Jack, the impatient brother with the never-ending stream of insults.
Of course you’ve got to be a fan of Sandler’s to enjoy the film’s typically crude humor, which includes everything from repeated fart gags and toothless old ladies being smacked in the face, to racist jokes about Mexicans and Indians. It helps that the gags come fast and furious, giving you little time to think in between the laughs.
The film’s side plot, in which Jack must get Al Pacino to star in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial, lends itself to possibly the most embarrassing extended cameo in recent memory. Yes, Pacino shows up in the film as himself, and aside from one or two smart scenes in which he spoofs his own ‘intense’ image, the thespian does an awkward routine in which he literally chases after Jill, smitten by her Bronx appeal. You cringe as you watch the Oscar-winning actor indulge in such contrived comedy.
Jack and Jill is one of those films that’s incredibly funny in portions, but there are also long stretches that are unforgivably boring – like that sickeningly schmaltzy climax. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Jack and Jill. If you’re an Adam Sandler fan, the film packs enough laughs to deserve a viewing.