AUTHOR: Mark Liebrecht
IDENTIFICATION: Jack and Jill (comedy), written by Ben Zook, Steve Koren and Adam Sandler
When Jill visits Jack’s home for the holidays, he has to survive her antics and try to convince Al Pacino to do a commercial to save his company.
While Jack and Jill does have a fun premise as a comedy about twins spending their first Thanksgiving without their mother, there are too many characters, storylines and dialog that are there just for a cheap gag, but are getting in the way of what could be a funny/touching movie. It’s a good idea, but the entire script would have to be rewritten from page one.
The movie opens with a group of twins telling the audience what it’s like having a twin sibling. Then it shifts to a montage of the title characters Jack & Jill growing up and fighting for the attention of their parents. From there we learn that Jack’s advertising company is in financial trouble, and is now 100% dependant on getting Al Pacino to sign on to do a Dunkin Donuts commercial within a month. Jack picks up Jill at the airport so she can spend Thanksgiving with him which somehow gets extended to Hanukkah.
After Jacks attempt to get rid of Jill via online dating fails, he is forced by his wife to take her to a Lakers game. This is where Jack and Jill run into Johnny Depp and Al Pacino in the front row, where Pacino develops a fascination with Jill, who couldn’t care less about him. After she runs out of their surprise birthday party because they don’t have two separate birthday cakes, Pacino appears out of nowhere to take her back to his house where he has a personal baker with a dozen cakes for her. Felipe the gardener finds Jill sleeping in the bushes because Jack apparently yelled at her for rejecting Al Pacino, which for some reason means she has to go to Felipe’s family gathering where she meets his family and they develop feelings for each other.
Pacino shows up at Jack’s house where he tells him that he’ll do the Dunkin Donuts commercial if he can get Jill to spend some time with him. This means that Jill has to go on the cruise with them for New Year’s Eve. While on the boat, Jack dresses up in drag so he can trick Al Pacino into thinking he is Jill. Jill finds out what Jack is doing and finds a way off the boat and goes back to the Bronx, where she goes to a restaurant with a photo of her mother and gets mocked by the locals. Jack and his family show up to reconcile with Jill and get in a fight with the locals, where Al Pacino shows up with a spear to end the fight, and let Jill know that Felipe and his kids are shoveling Jill’s driveway. Felipe professes his love for Jill, and Al Pacino does Jack’s Dunkin Donuts commercial. The credits roll with the twins from the start of the movie, more twins have been added along with a dance number.
Jack and Jill has a fairly decent premise, of a brother and sister who only get together once a year to spend Thanksgiving together. The idea that this is Jill’s first year alone since her mother died should make her a more sympathetic character. It seems like they should both be mourning the loss of their mother, and that this is the first holiday that they’ll be having without her in their lives, but that seems to be overshadowed by Jack’s attempts at driving Jill away, as well as his attempts to get Al Pacino to do the one commercial that will save his company from financial ruin.
The storyline doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why is Jack going to Lakers games, throwing giant birthday parties with celebrities and going on a cruise for New Year’s Eve when his company is on the verge of bankruptcy and he himself could be unemployed? Al Pacino’s obsession of Jill makes no sense if you don’t know anything about Don Quixote, which makes me think there should be a clear explanation of the storyline of Don Quixote, so the audience can come to that conclusion on their own. The internet dating scene felt forced. Why does Jack want Jill to find someone in his town when he’s trying to get rid of her? Jill repeatedly brings up how lonely she is now that her mother is dead, but Jack doesn’t appear to acknowledge the loss of his mother at all. The entire picnic with Felipe’s family should just be cut. If Jill and Felipe only need one scene to fall in love, it’s got to end with something that doesn’t have the line “chimichanga bombs.” Jack’s wife and kids seem like their just props. They don’t really serve any purpose unless someone needs to make Jack feel guilty. I feel Jack’s family could be written out of the script, either he’s single or they’re out of town.
The structure of the film is solid. Nothing appeared to be out of order, and I feel this is the one part of the entire movie that was actually well thought out. The only thing that bothers me about it, is the scenes with the random sets of twins at the beginning and the end. I understand why they did it twice, it’s a movie about twins, they had to do it twice, but I don’t believe these scenes serve any real purpose in this movie, except to let people in the audience know that twins have some quirks, like the twin speak, and some don’t seem to like each other that much. Both scenes should be cut, as they don’t really add anything to the story. Especially the first one, because right after there is a montage with Jack and Jill that basically shows that twins have some quirks, and don’t always get along.
The dialog is pure garbage. In addition to being typical humor you’d find in an Adam Sandler script, you have to deal with the gibberish twin talk between Jack and Jill as well as Al Pacino’s attempts at speaking Spanish, French or Italian (it’s not clear which, but it’s not translatable). The humor itself is racist and antisemitic, but as Jack says, it’s okay to say these things if you’re Jewish. The entire picnic with Felipe’s family was stereotypical, offensive and not the slightest bit funny. This is supposed to be a comedy, but I don’t see where the humor is. The only way to make this movie funny is to get a time machine, go back to 1998 and release it between The Wedding Singer and Waterboy. This movie needed a script doctor or two, possibly some comedians who haven’t worked with Sandler in the past, to rewrite most of the dialog.