Adam Sandler’s movie career consists of several early hits (“Happy Gilmore”, “Billy Madison”) and some more recent clunkers (“Grown-Ups”). The main problem with Sandler’s bad comedies is that they include more disgusting and disturbing humor than actual funny lines and scenes. While “Jack and Jill” has it’s share of fart jokes and adult references it also has a decent story and some big laughs. I’ve gotten blasted for actually liking this film, but I don’t care. It was one of the best times I had at a movie in 2011 and I’ll be watching it again now that it’s out on DVD.
Sandler plays both Jack, a successful Los Angeles TV commercial producer, and his twin sister Jill, who comes to visit Jack and his family (including a wife played by Katie Holmes) for Thanksgiving weekend. Jack and Jill don’t get along – Jill still lives in NYC and is loud, crude and at times obnoxious. Jack can’t wait for her to leave but Jill ends up staying a little longer than expected and she gets involved in some crazy situations, including one with the real life Al Pacino, who plays himself in a hilarious role. It just so happens that Jack need Pacino to star in his new Dunkin’ Donuts commercial or his company will go out of business. And he’ll do just about anything to make that happen.
Going in I thought “Jack and Jill” would be another tough to get through Sandler effort, but instead it’s quite enjoyable. The script features some great lines, many by Pacino, but the long list of stars who make cameos also have their chance, including Regis Philbin (who’s in the first scene of the movie, so don’t arrive late), Johnny Depp, Shaquille O’Neal, and Drew Carey (in as hilarious “The Price Is Right” scene). Sandler, whose “Happy Madison” company produced the film, plays Jack straight (at least for awhile) and has Jill take part in all the physical gags and wacky situations. And it mostly works, when things don’t go completely over-the-top.
“Jack and Jill” does contain some of the raunchy humor that Sandler’s films are famous for, but it’s clearly toned-down. So much so, in fact, that the film has a PG rating. Clearly he realized that there’s a family comedy audience that he could reach if he kept the adult language and sex references out this time and replace them with a better script, likable characters and even, believe it or not, a nice message or two. The movie is appropriate for kids 8 and up, who will like the goofy stuff, but older kids and adults will appreciate the wise cracking dialogue, including a great running joke concerning Jill and her knowledge of famous films.
On “The Official Kid Critic Report Card“, “Jack and Jill” gets a surprising B. Don’t late the haters keep you from watching this movie – and laughing more than you have in a long time.