Attempting to figure out what is at the very heart of what does not work with Jack and Jill is a difficult task. It’s as damn near impossible as trying to hold onto a person with moist hands as you are slowly slipping off a precipice. The problem seems to be that there is nothing underlyingly wrong with Jack and Jill, a comedy that builds its foundations out of a realistic premise: two siblings that don’t connect and cannot understand one another at all. Unlike the precipice thing, which is stuck dealing with extenuating factors, Jack and Jill could have been a whole lot better had creators been able to pursue characters with a bit more humanity and jokes that did not fall flat. Jack and Jill’s issues begin with the miscasting of Katie Holmes, continue through 91 minutes of arduous cross-dressing appearances and pointless, star-powered cameos, and end without having produced anything remotely close to a storyline. Regardless, I’ll give explaining the story a go. Adam Sandler plays Jack, a struggling advertising executive who really needs to land a new deal featuring the one and only Al Pacino. When his annoying and oblivious twin sister Jill (also Adam Sandler) visits, Jack decides he needs to land socially inept sister with a man. Eventually Al Pacino actually takes a liking to Jill, and Jack spends a good part of the movie trying to hook them up in different environments so he can shoot his commercial.
Katie Holmes plays Sandler’s wife, Erin, but she is the straight woman in the group, there more to prove Jack has a stable family life than to provide any real comedy. So Sandler and director Dennis Dugan look to the kids to supply many of the cheap laughs in the household, notably the boy, Gary (Rohan Chand), an adopted child who makes wizened comments while taping random items to himself.
When not focusing on Kids Say the Darndest Things zingers, Jack and Jill relies on comedians and famous faces to bring in a little jazz. Admittedly, the jazz works some of the time. I never mind seeing Norm MacDonald pop up for a scene or two and some of the cameos are amusing, although non sequitur, surprises. Ultimately, the don’t prop up the other missteps, but they are not the worst thing the movie attempts.
Speaking of stuff that does not add up, in the end, there is a halfhearted attempt to explain that family is family, and we all need to come through for that family, even when we may not like that family very much. Watching Jill, the only character that is even partially fleshed out in Jack and Jill, we find one of the most outrageously unlikeable family members to ever grace a movie screen. Jill consistently misconstrues movie titles, she doesn’t know what Skype is, and she likes to ride kiddie rides at carnivals. In the end, though she may be unlikeable, she is still part of that loosely connected web known as family and she, too deserves a little happiness. It’s not Adam Sandler’s rendition of Jill that fails so sorely here, but all of the crap we are put through to get her there.
Jack and Jill is not an example of Sandler trying something new and failing. It’s yet another example of Sandler failing to find the balance between stupid nonsense and interesting and clever characters we’d like to watch. Adam Sandler is and has always been into some weird and over-the-top comedy, and just because this one fails to hit the right mark, it does not mean Sandler and Dugan are losing their touch, because they have always been about goofy, falling-down humor. Despite completely despising this movie, I still did not find it worse than Little Nicky, and that movie was made when people were still behind Sandler’s twisted visions. In the time since, Sandler is still doing Sandler, it’s just that sometimes the pieces manage to land together a little better, and sometimes, as in Jack and Jill, they don’t. The first extras are the movie’s deleted scenes. Some of the scenes are brand new and some of them are early versions of scenes that later ended up in the movie. One deleted scene even features an advertisement from Shaq. Many of the deleted scenes are actually fairly suggestive, and while I hope they were cut due to poor taste, it seems more likely they were cut to fit the PG rating.
An outtake reel follows, in which Pacino proclaims, “This is a ludicrous mess” and Sandler lovingly intones, “But that is why people are going to love it.” Right. This movie did not make back its production budget, people. Other segments include “Look Who Stopped By,” which spotlights some of the many cameos appearing in the film; “Stomach Ache”; and “Don’t Call It A Boat -- Royal Caribbean," which is about the cruise scenes.
Honestly, the disc is put together really nicely. The picture looks great, the menu is easy to maneuver through, the disc automatically offers playback if you stop play mid-movie, and there are many extras that pack a lot of punch. If Jack and Jill weren’t such an absolute assault on the senses itself, I would highly recommend the Blu-Ray set. So, if you liked the movie, I say go for it.
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