Beggaring Belief


I guess, as a film commentator, occasionally you have to take one for the team. I just took one for the team. JACK AND JILL is so inept that it is literally difficult to sit through. Time seems to expand when you’re seeing bad art. I could easily sit in the sun for two hours and do nothing. But to sit through this… words can barely describe how awful this film is. But here goes.

For a start, let’s establish the basic plot, very, very quickly. Adam Sandler plays Jack, an ad man. He also plays Jack’s sister Jill, who has come to stay. Jack needs to get Al Pacino to be in a commercial. Al Pacino falls – sexually – for Jill. So Jack has to get Jill to screw Al Pacino.

Yep, that’s the premise. And guess who plays Al Pacino? Al Pacino.

How much did they pay Pacino to do this? Four million dollars? Ten million? Who knows. But let’s be very clear straight up: this is not Pacino’s Being John Malkovich. This is not Pacino being wryly self-aware and self-mocking, like Ben Stiller, Kate Winslet, Daniel Radcliffe and every other major star that appeared in Extras. This is Al Pacino, as Al Pacino, with no irony (and no laughs, but we’ll get to that later) falling in lust with Adam Sandler in drag.

Again I have to ask (or cry out to the heavens): how much money did they pay Al Pacino to do this? It can’t possibly be that Pacino responded to the script, because the script is atrocious. Indeed, for the Al Pacino scenes (and there are many: this is no cameo; Al Pacino is the second most important character in the film, after Jill) it doesn’t seem like there was a script. Al Pacino seems to be improvising his lines – very, very badly – in every scene that he’s in. It’s almost like he was drunk. It’s literally like Al Pacino got paid ten million dollars and turned up drunk every day so that he could pretend to be in lust with Adam Sandler in drag.

Let’s talk about this. Adam Sandler in drag. It is abysmal. Remember Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie? Good drag. You always knew it was Dustin Hoffman, but… you believed in Tootsie too. Now take that memory and turn in one hundred and eighty degrees. Adam Sandler in drag is just Adam Sandler in a dress and a wig. Oh, he does his attempt at a falsetto – and that’s it. There is no attempt – or, at least, achievement – to make Jill seem real. When Eddie Murphy plays women you believe them, to a degree. Even Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House “creates” a female character. Not here. Jill is just Jack in drag. And they’re both Adam Sandler. And he’s not lifting a finger.

I can’t recall seeing a lazier movie. Even the edits are terrible. I’m not talking about the editing. I’m talking about the actual edits, the actual cuts. They’re jarring and weird – like the film was made on video without a timecode. They have that clicky noise that amateur filmmakers use iMovie to erase. And let’s not get started on the “cinematography”. It feels like every single shot is just a mid of the characters in the scene (inevitably, Adam Sandler, often Al Pacino, and occasionally Katie Holmes as Jack’s wife. Why did the actress married to the richest actor in the world agree to do this thankless, awful, despicable, pathetic role? Why did anyone agree to be in it? Why was it made? How much did they pay Al Pacino?) The camera doesn’t move, the camera doesn’t… oh, forget it. No-one has ever gone to see an Adam Sandler movie for the mise-en-scene.

The reason people go to an Adam Sandler movie is to laugh. Well, there are no laughs in this movie. I’m not kidding. I did not see a critic’s preview. I saw JACK AND JILL with a general audience on a Saturday afternoon. As I always do as I see a film with a real audience, I clocked the amount of people there. I reckon I saw the film with about one hundred people.

There was not a single laugh from the audience throughout the entire film.

I could go on. Should I? Okay.

There is weird sentimental music like we’re meant to care. Like we’re meant to care about Jill and Al Pacino’s relationship. Like it’s a ROM COM between Al Pacino and Adam Sandler in a dress. Which it is. The music is terrible.

A terribly racist sub-plot enjoins us to laugh at Mexicans. Everyone’s name is Juan! Hysterical. There are not just fart jokes, there are not just poo jokes, there are “Sally pooed herself jokes.” Except they’re not jokes. Jokes are funny. Nothing in this movie is funny.

Al Pacino, who has kind of dedicated himself to his love of understanding and portraying Richard III, allows himself to be shot taking a phone call while he is onstage, in front of an audience, playing Richard III. Yes, maybe this is a joke (except it can’t be, because jokes are funny, and this scene isn’t funny). Okay. Whatever. But Pacino is not even speaking the text of Richard III. It’s literally like the producers were worried that Richard III was under copyright so they’ve made up – terribly – some faux Shakespeare to “sound” like Richard III. How much did they pay Al Pacino?

About halfway through, all the main characters go on a cruise ship (with massive product placement – maybe the whole film was funded by the cruise line). Guess what? While they’re on the “high seas”… the boat isn’t moving! It’s unbelievably obvious they’re in dock. Unbelievably obvious. As in, they can’t have ever expected us to believe this. Can they?

I cannot go on. I’m sure everyone involved in this fiasco – including Al Pacino – know it’s terrible. Sometimes bad movies just get made. But wow, this is a doozy.

Even the kids are terrible. The ones playing Jack’s kids. They’re terrible. Atrocious. Not only can’t they act, there’s nothing about them that’s appealing. You want to kick them in the head.

This film is an abomination. You might just want to see it, to understand just how bad a released feature film can be.

Watch this instead:

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