Jack and Jill
Starring: Adam Sandler
Directed by: Dennis Dugan

1 out of 5

Sean Hardy

I went to see Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill this week. Sadly, I must conclude that it fell somewhat short of my expectations.

Take a moment to make sure you fully understand what I mean when I say this, because I’m being completely serious. If after careful consideration you still don’t follow me, take a gander at Jack and Jill’s current Metacritic rating, as I did for curiosity’s sake. Seriously, take a look. Last I checked, it was a 24/100. That’s what I was expecting, and do you know what? It was worse than that. I didn’t bloody get it, and I want my money back. But it’s not coming back. It belongs to Adam Sandler now.

Given that you’ve read at least one disparaging film review since Your Highness flailed its way into theatres not so long ago, I’ll try to spare you the usual fire-and-brimstone treatment and provide only the essentials. First, the extent of the damage: Jack and Jill is so bad that it actually made me physically anxious.

I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. I’m almost surprised I didn’t break out in hives, so emotionally battered was I in the wake of Hurricane Sandler and his painfully limited repertoire of silly voices and lifeless, uninspired gags.

If nothing else, though, we can at least say that the man is consistent; arm him with a shitty premise (the ol’ twin-brother-and-sister-played-by-the-same-actor shtick, in this case), you know he’ll do everything in his power to ensure that the result is an equally shitty movie experience. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Given the totality of its awfulness, at times the details as to why Jack and Jill misses the mark so completely seem to bleed together into one sprawling, intricate mosaic of suck. It’s what I imagine a great work of art would be like if any of the great artists had lived in a trailer park and painted with Cheez Whiz and children’s tears.

Still, some of the most problematic elements are so blatant that they can’t help but jump out at you: the plot is razor-thin, the acting is virtually nonexistent, the funniest character by a generous margin is someone’s pet bird and most of the situational gags are uncomfortable and nothing more.

As if this weren’t bad enough, what’s left when these essential components have been stripped away is little more than a hastily thrown-together assemblage of product placements, bizarre cameos (Al Pacino plays the sex-offender version of himself for some weird reason), overtly racist humour and scenes that often begin or end without any real context. “Why is Adam Sandler driving a Jet Ski around a swimming pool?” you might, for instance, find yourself asking.

The answer to this and a multitude of other, similar questions is that we simply don’t know. Indeed, we may never know; in more ways than one, how the Sandler and Co. creation could even have been conceived or put in motion is a complete enigma.

In the end, what we are ultimately left with is a version of comedy gone awry. Too crude to be considered a children’s movie and too painfully unfunny to appeal to adults, Jack and Jill is left to occupy a lonely middle ground indeed. Pass.

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