It’d be easy for me and cathartic for us all to curate a collection of the most scathing, hateful responses to Adam Sandler’s new movie, Jack & Jill, which you knew were coming from the moment we all saw the first trailer. Trust me, they didn’t disappoint. The actual NY Post headline for their review is “Adam & Heave.”
But what’s even more interesting to me are the moments where the critics are desperately trying to think of something good to say, solely in the interests of fairness, and yet their true, incandescent hatred still bleeds through, like the best passive-aggressive exchange with your boss. That’s how the Plot Recreated with Reviews game was born, where I use faux-expository quotes from critics’ reviews to recreate the plot of a movie they all despised. It’s fun! But before I start, perhaps my favorite passive-aggressive-y quote:
Also amusing are the film’s opening and ending credit sequences, which collect a wide variety of real-life twins to talk about their relationship, and to tease each other the way only siblings can.
Unfortunately, in between those scenes — and apart from Pacino’s lip-smacking performance — you’re still left with an Adam Sandler movie, with all that entails.
Take out the expository details, and you’ve got “the credits were nice.” I love that. Anyway, let’s get to the game:
In “Jack and Jill,” as in “Grown Ups” (both directed by Dennis Dugan), Sandler plays a guy with a more or less perfect life — cute kids, cool job, big house, hot wife — who is grievously annoyed by people variously defined as losers. This expansive category includes anyone who can be mocked for reasons of hygiene, physical appearance or ethnic background, though at the last minute, just to prove what a nice guy he is, Mr. Sandler will substitute condescension for contempt. (AO Scott, NY Times)
Oh dammit, AO Scott, you always ruin this game. Let’s start over.
Sandler plays Los Angeles ad man, who has a sister who still lives in the Bronx. She comes to visit for Thanksgiving, and drives him crazy. (Newark Star Ledger)
When Jill arrives from the Bronx, her presence provokes a steady barrage of rage and disgust. She is dumb — she doesn’t know what the Internet is! — crude and physically grotesque, and also loud and needy. She leaves sweat stains on the bed and talks in a high-pitched nasal singsong, broadcasting her feelings at maximum volume. (NY Times)
We are also joined by his two young children: a young boy adopted from India when less than two weeks old and a little girl who is always curiously dressed exactly as her doll. The boy has discovered scotch tape and it’s fun to see what household item he’ll apply to his body next. (MediaMike)
Jill stays indefinitely, during which time Jack tries to find her a boyfriend through some online dating sites. She goes on a date with Norm Macdonald, who is astonished by her physical appearance even though her picture was included in her profile. (The people who made the movie don’t care. Ugly girls are funny!) She also goes for a pony ride and breaks the pony’s legs. She’s so “fat” she literally collapses a pony. She’s pony-collapsingly fat. (EricDSnider, Film.com)
Sandler the ad man needs to get Al Pacino to do a TV commercial — and, for some strange reason, Pacino is entranced by Sandler’s sister. (Newark Star Ledger)
…inviting her to his house for homemade cakes, a poorly planned indoor stickball game, and eventually a helicopter ride to the Spanish castle where he’s preparing to play Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. (Katey Rich, CinemaBlend)
This is potentially a lucky break for Jack, who’s been working up the nerve to approach Pacino to participate in an ad campaign for Dunkin Donuts’ new “Dunk-a-Chino.” But Jill, whom Pacino takes back to his place, is weirded out by the actor’s aggressive needy behaviour and wants nothing more to do with him. Can you see it coming? Yes indeed, Jack eventually comes to the point where he must disguise himself as his sister to get Pacino on board. (GlobeandMail)
So he cross-dresses (even less convincingly) and substitutes for his sister for a romantic rendezvous with Al on an ocean liner. Only Al shows up with a helicopter and whisks “her’’ away to a castle in Europe. Where nothing really happens. (NYPost)
There are also more flatulence jokes than I’ve ever seen in a single movie, beginning in the opening credits and reaching the lowest of many low points when Jill eats Mexican food for the first time.
“Is Evel Knievel popping wheelies in there?’’ Jack asks as his sister loudly drops “chimichanga bombs.” (NY Post)
Besides Mexicans, there are cruel gags targeted at South Asians (Sandler has an eccentric adopted son from India) and, of course, Jews (“What is Skype? It sounds anti-Semitic”), as well as references to hookers and men “using” women. (NY Post)
This being an Adam Sandler movie, there’s the usual motley assortment of celebrity cameos — Johnny Depp, Regis Philbin, John McEnroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Christie Brinkley and Drew Carey. And the inevitable assortment of Sandler’s pals: Allen Covert, Nick Swardson, Tim Meadows, Dana Carvey and (far more convincing as a woman than Sandler) David Spade. (NY Post)
As in most of Sandler’s lazier films, characters behave without motivation and make changes in their lives only because they’ve arrived at the point in the movie where characters are supposed to make changes in their lives. (Should you be unfortunate enough to see this film, I defy you to tell me why Jack changes his mind about Jill at the end.) (Film.com)
Watching the Oscar winner bust a move and freestyle rap while he extols the virtues of sipping a Dunkachinno is to witness desperation incarnate. “Burn it,” says Pacino after watching the commercial Sandler creates. “No one must ever see this.” (RollingStone)
You might be shocked (SHOCKED!) to learn that at least half the critics pointed to that last line as something that could apply to Jack and Jill. You’d think they’d ad least be grateful to Sandler for making it easy like that.