Jack and Jill Goes Downhill in a Hurry
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2011 11 Nov
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: November 11, 2011
Rating: PG (for crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence and brief smoking)
Run Time: 91 min.
Director: Dennis Dugan
Actors: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, Rohan Chand, Elodie Tougne, Eugenio Derbez, David Spade, Nick Swardson, Tim Meadows, Norm MacDonald
Let’s be honest: No one is ever expecting Adam Sandler to make a movie with Mensa candidates in mind.
Aside from a couple of superb turns in more serious fare, namely 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love and 2007’s Reign Over Me, Sandler’s always gravitated toward a very specific style of humor—basically anything that makes a 12-year-old boy laugh.
And if that’s the standard we’re measuring Jack and Jill by, well, Sandler has succeeded on every level. Not only does he manage to squeeze in the maximum amount of scenes featuring burping and passing gas, along with all the gory accompanying details, but he gets some serious A-list talent to join in for the fun. In fact, there’s so many noteworthy cameos by people you’d never expect in a film starring, well, Adam Sandler, that one can’t help wondering if he’s got a secret stash of their compromising photographs lying around somewhere.
After all, when you’ve got a legend like Al Pacino lusting for a woman who’s actually Adam Sandler in a dress, make-up and heels, you know something’s not right in the universe. It’s just weird, even by Hollywood’s standards.
Nonetheless, just in time for Thanksgiving, we’ve got the story of a seemingly normal Los Angeles family whose lives are turned upside down when Jill (Sandler, Just Go with It), Jack’s (also Sandler) twin sister, invades their home for the holiday.
See, like the proverbial black sheep in every family, Jill’s the one who gets under everyone’s skin simply by being herself. In addition to sweating profusely and always saying the wrong things in her grating pseudo New York accent, you can’t even take her in public without someone getting offended in the process. But just as Jack, a successful advertising exec, thinks he can’t possibly handle one more second of his sister’s crazy-pants routine, he’s always got his ever-chipper wife Erin (Katie Holmes, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) reminding him that it’s only for four days.
Now let’s talk about the casting of Holmes for just a moment, shall we? For a once-promising actress (see 2000’s Wonder Boys or 2003’s Pieces of April, for example), it’s sad how wooden and downright robotic she’s become. While she’s not exactly given a lot to do in Jack and Jill, save for serving as Jack’s wife and offering up plenty of can-do spirit when the going gets tough, Holmes lacks any discernable facial expressions. Chances are, they could’ve cast a vacuum cleaner, and you wouldn’t have noticed the difference.
And in lieu of a story with an actual plot, it’s not surprising that Jill ends up staying well past her welcome, much to Jack’s chagrin (for whatever reason the kids have really taken to her). So instead of continuing to complain about the intrusion like he did in the film’s first 30 minutes, Jack eventually opts to make the most of it. Considering that Jill spends the bulk of her time in the company of a talking bird named Poopsie, however, he decides that maybe a boyfriend would liven things up.
Cue Jill’s first experience with online dating and one very strange outing with a guy who answers to Funbucket (Norm MacDonald, Grown Ups).
While there are definitely more laughs than one might expect from something so juvenile (yes, extremely low expectations help), it still doesn’t take long for Jack and Jill to seriously go downhill. There are countless tacky jokes at the expense of everyone from Hispanics to Indians to people with weight problems, but you’d think by age 45, Sandler’s obsession with sex and bodily functions would’ve waned by now (it hasn’t, apparently).
Still, when compared to the likes of Just Go with It, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, it’s nice seeing Sandler doing something a little closer to PG range. But is it appropriate for the whole family or even worth your time? That’s still a major judgment call.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Jill’s bird Poopsie is shown drinking Jack Daniels, plus other instances of social drinking. Some cigarette smoking depicted.
- Language/Profanity: Several instances where God’s name is exclaimed or taken in vain. He-- is used once. Lots of scatological humor. Countless jokes and rude comments about other people that aren’t exactly in good taste.
- Sex/Nudity: Sexual innuendos and double entendres. A bathroom attendant adjusts Jill’s breasts for her before a date. Later, he does the same to Jack who is posing as Jill. Suspecting that Jill is, in fact, a man, two men feel up her dress and declare that she’s not. Al Pacino makes some racy comments about Jill.
- Violence: Only of a comedic nature, like men being kicked in the groin, people falling down spectacularly, etc.
Religion: Jack’s assistant is an atheist, and he’s actually mocked for it several times. In one scene, he’s asked how he can be an atheist when God made something as spectacular as the Grand Canyon. Someone thinks a biblical phrase that’s quoted is something from a movie instead. Another character corrects them by saying it was Jesus who actually said that. Also there’s quite a bit of discussion if Jack’s wife Erin converted to Judaism for him.
Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.
For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.