DVD: Jack and Jill

 Adam Sandler fans are a very forgiving bunch who seem to know that, for every Anger Management the star has produced, a You Don’t Mess with the Zohan seems to follow. And yet, they ride out the mediocre in hopes of the next Big Daddy or The Wedding Singer. Sadly, that movie definitely isn’t Jack and Jill.

The premise of the film is thin at best. Sandler plays Jack Sadelstein, a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles with a picture-perfect wife (a bland Katie Holmes) and two kids—the girly girl Sofia (Elodie Tougne) and Scotch tape-obsessed Gary (Rohan Chand). As the movie opens, the family is looking forward to Thanksgiving—and dreading the annual arrival of Jack’s nemesis, his identical twin sister, Jill (also Sandler). A montage during the opening credits illustrates the many ways Jack has been annoyed by his sister since birth (or the multiple ways he’s been a total jerk, depending on the audience’s point of view).

Clearly, Jack is far more bothered by his brash New Jersey-based sibling than anyone else in his family, who all seem to take her quirks in stride. For her part, Jill loves her brother and simply wants to be closer to him, especially now that their mother has passed away. Dinnertime friction ends in a major fight, followed by Jill’s decision to extend her stay so the two can “work things out.”

The character of Jill is played as a passive-aggressive whiner with a thick Bronx accent, yet it’s Jack who is the more annoying of the two. His selfish, mean-spirited nature makes filmgoers wonder why his sister even bothers. Nevertheless, a few days becomes a few weeks, and Jill runs the risk of becoming a permanent fixture.

Hampering Jack’s attempts to run his sister out of town are two potential love interests: the landscaper, Felipe (Eugenio Derbez), and—no joke—Al Pacino. Yes, that Al Pacino. Playing a cartoon parody of himself, the Godfather vet falls head-over-heels for the manly Jill, citing their common Bronx background as the basis of the love connection. Jack needs Pacino to agree to do a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial shoot or his job is on the line, so he is torn between wanting his sister on the next plane out of town and pimping her to lure Pacino into a contract.

The rest of the story doesn’t matter much, as it only exists as a vehicle for the numerous celebrity cameos popping up like the rodents in a Whac-A-Mole game. It comes to mind that this would make Jack and Jill an excellent drinking game movie—if players took a shot each time a famous face showed up, they’d be passed out before the first hour was up. The bit parts vary from painful (the ShamWow guy?) to very funny (Norm MacDonald as a creepy blind date, Dana Carvey as a stomach-puppeteer). The funniest appearance, however, has to be Johnny Depp at a Lakers game. Sporting a Justin Bieber T-shirt and his trademark lazy grin, Depp clearly took the role with the seriousness it deserved. “Were you in Duran Duran?” Jill screeches at him. “Yes,” he says without a trace of irony.

The final third of the movie takes a break from the agonizing sibling rivalry to make a commercial for the Royal Caribbean cruise line before diving into the inevitable Jack-dressed-as-Jill bit, and the realization that Jack’s been a huge ass.

Now for the positives: Sandler takes the character of Jill further than just being himself in a dress. Throughout the film, it is entirely possible to forget that the same person inhabits both roles, and there is even enough shading and depth between his portrayals of Jill and Jack-playing-Jill that the two are very separate. Although the movie as a whole is a disorganized mess, there are funny and original bits. And finally, Sandler fans can take heart that the lows to which this movie sinks can only mean the upcoming That’s My Boy has nowhere to go but up.

After slogging through the film, viewers might enjoy some of the special features. The DVD (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, MSRP: $30.99), Blu-ray (MSRP: $35.99) and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (MSRP: $40.99) all offer “Laughing is Contagious,” an obligatory blooper reel that shows viewers how much fun it was to make the film and what a great time everyone had ad-libbing and riffing off of each other. It is interesting to watch the enthusiasm of the actors between takes, as those moments are full of more humor than the final product.

Although it’s usually easy to see why deleted scenes were cut, the multitude of extra footage included o
n Jack and Jill is roughly the same quality as the rest of the film, which is to say sophomoric. Any of the 13 scenes could have been interchanged with what ended up in the theatrical release without any discernible change in quality.

Uncover the magic behind the transformation of Sandler from a him to a her in “Boys Will Be Girls.” While not precisely method acting, Sandler does admit that the clothing and makeup were challenging but necessary to his portrayal. The featurette also explores the alter-egos of some of the other females-played-by-males in the film, including Derbez as his character
’s own grandmother.

One of the most worthwhile features is “Look Who Stopped By,” a comprehensive look at the nearly two dozen cameo appearances in the movie, from an angry John McEnroe to a bewildered Bruce Jenner, from the laid-back Drew Carey to a hammy-in-more-ways-than-one Shaquille O’Neal. (Those good at math will surely notice that, at 91 minutes, the movie averages a wink-wink, nudge-nudge appearance approximately every four minutes.)

The Blu-ray releases add just two exclusive extras to the package, “Stomach Ache” and “Don’t Call It A Boat—Royal Caribbean,” as well as an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.

In review: frat boys, adolescents and multiples who enjoy films about twins should find something to enjoy about Jack and Jill. Anyone else looking for vintage Sandler humor should just pop in a DVD of Grown Ups instead.

Jack and Jill is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. 

Posted on LifeInLA.com

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