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Jack and Jill

Sony Pictures // PG // March 6, 2012 // Region 0
List Price: $40.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted February 21, 2012 | E-mail the Author

Uh, right here, I guess.

Okay, so I'm sitting here with a sad, frowny face right now, crushed by disappointment. You let me down, Jack and Jill. All that relentless message board snark, the staggering 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the anemic box office, the trailer that spawned a thousand memes -- I had such low hopes for you! There's not a whole lot in this world that's more of a blast to review than a terrible comedy, and I was all coiled muscles and a third-rate wit ready to pounce. I waltzed into Jack and Jill gleefully anticipating some sort of epic failure, and instead I got a 1994 SNL sketch that doesn't know where to end. Yeah, that's a
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hacky reference to make, but look at what I'm reviewing. Jack and Jill doesn't aim high enough to crash and burn. It's lazy, limp, lifeless, and almost aggressively mediocre. With...okay, one very notable exception, everyone on the bill kinda just seems to be on autopilot. The gags scattered around here barely qualify as jokes. It's just...Jack and Jill would've been so much better if it had been worse. I can kinda/sorta respect a failure, but Jack and Jill doesn't even feel like it's trying.

I guess this is where I say the same thing as every other reviewer, ever, and point out that Jack and Jill plays like one of those shitball high-concept family-friendly comedies that Adam Sandler riffed on in Funny People a few years back. He poked fun at himself for churning out this sort of double-digit IQ dreck and how it's deadening his soul, but then I guess Sandler needed another paycheck, so... Anyway, Sandler pulls double duty as identical twins Jack and Jill. Meet Jack! He's an uptight ad-man whose marketing firm is teetering on bankruptcy. Jill, meanwhile, has never pulled up stakes from the old family home in Brooklyn. Never married. No kids. Looks, yeah, like Adam Sandler with oversized fake tits and a fright wig. This is her first Thanksgiving after the ::sniffles!:: loss of her mom, so Jill's feeling especially vulnerable these days. She wants to reconnect! For Jack, this is some kind of seventh circle of Hell deal he'll have to endure with gritted teeth or whatever. Jill's insufferably loud, she farts like a pregnant woman, she smells like someone lit a box of hair on fire...and the more desperate Jack is for his sister to leave, the more hellbent she is
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on staying. Turns out that Al Pacino -- playing himself, even -- is smitten with this delicate little Brooklyn rose. Wrangling Al into doing this Dunkin' Donuts commercial could keep Jack's company afloat, so all he has to do is find a way to whore out his sister to a borderline-psychotic movie star. Hilarity ensues! Okay, it doesn't, but you know what I mean.
"No, it's not you -- it's the chimichangas! They're making a run for the border!"
"You're throwing chimichanga bombs? Ha ha ha ha!"
"Erin, I've gotta go make some chocolate squirties!"
That leads into something like 45 seconds straight of Jill farting, and Jack spends the next couple of minutes after that making poopoo-is-stinky faces and trying desperately to air out the room. So, you've got Adam Sandler in a wig doing some grating, squeaky voice, you've got a metric ton of fart and diarrhea jokes, a bunch of unearned schmaltz heaped on at the end about family and responsibility or whatever, there are a bunch of crazy racial stereotypes, including several outta-nowhere Al Qaeda jabs that I didn't think were a pop culture thing after, like, 2003...yup! Jack and Jill is a Happy Madison comedy, alright. Just about everyone on both sides of the camera has deluded themselves into thinking that Sandler playing his own twin sister is box office gold, so there's no need to...y'know, do anything. That infectious energy, that spark, that whatever-other-clichés-I'm forgetting-to-use that you see in just about any worthwhile comedy are all desperately missed here. The material's uninspired, and just about everyone in the cast is sleepwalking their way through it. None of it's good enough to score a laugh, and it's rarely bad enough to get a groan out of me. It's all just sort of...there, waistdeep in indifference. The really unexpected thing is that this is Al Pacino's best performance in years. He's the only guy in the cast who seems to give a shit, there's a commitment and an intensity that Pacino abandoned long ago after settling into self-parody for anyone who'd cut him a check, and he goes balls-fucking-out with it. Pacino plays himself as an overentitled asshole who's infatuated with this grotesque monster of a woman, he seductively tickles a dude's armpits, he shoves his head into a set of sweat-stained bedsheets to try to feel closer to his lady love, he busts into an old school-style rap about chocolate-flavored coffee...I mean, it's never funny, exactly, but Pacino is fascinating to watch. Just...y'know, not fascinating enough to make slogging through Jack and Jill even a little bit worthwhile. Skip It.

The review for this goes pretty much the way you'd expect out of an $80 million comedy. It's sharp! It's detailed! It's super-colorful! The stock shots of the cruise ship are harshly digital and aliased, jarringly out of step with the rest of the flick, but other than that...? Not a whole lot to gripe about.

Well, I guess there's the bitrate, which is surprisingly lean for a Sony release, although Jack and Jill doesn't seem any worse off for it. The movie's dished out on a dual-layer disc but doesn't take advantage of that
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headroom at all. Oh, I guess there's still some other technical stuff I'm supposed to rattle off here. Jack and Jill has been encoded with AVC and is very lightly letterboxed to preserve its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

Even the schlockiest direct-to-video flicks anymore get the 24-bit treatment on Blu-ray, so it kinda caught me offguard when I noticed that a megabudgeted studio comedy like Jack and Jill is saddled with a 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio track. Of course, unless you're staring at bitrate meters or whatever, chances are you'd never notice. I mean, this isn't so much a movie with a demanding sound design or whatever. Music aside, there's not a whole lot going on in the lower frequencies. There are some scattered directional effects that come through pretty well in the surrounds -- whirring helicopter blades, a couple of too-tall basketball players yammering away, the soundtrack from The Man of La Mancha puttering around in the back -- but otherwise, the rear channels are just about completely reserved for reinforcing the score and various other bits of music too. Jack and Jill's dialogue is consistently rendered cleanly and clearly throughout, so I guess there's that. So, yeah, it's alright. Pretty standard issue stuff for a comedy.

A second DTS-HD Master Audio track has been dubbed into French. Also piled on here are a descriptive video service track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish dub. Subtitles in English (traditional and SDH), French, and Spanish round out the audio options.

  • Deleted Scenes (19 min.; HD): What are we lookin' at here, thirteen deleted and extended scenes? There's a prologue or something with Jack and Jill being born along with some offscreen natal assplay. Several scenes revolve around Jill jiggling around half-naked, and that's...yeah, more than a little disturbing. Jill has diarrhea on an old lady's lap in a Portapotty, which sort of sums up the flick's sense of humor right there. While Jack and his family galavant around Europe, Jill decides to stay on Royal Caribbean's legendary cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, in a scene that never, ever ends. That whole thing already seems uncomfortably promotional in the final cut, but droning on with all that for another eight minutes or however long it is just...ack. The one scene I actually would've liked to have made it into the finished product is Al Pacino trying to get Jill to eat a cheesecake in the shape of his head. You get a quick peek at it in the movie proper, but now you can tell what's going on there. I know, right? Finally!

  • Laughter Is Contagious (4 min.; HD): I was about to write something snarky about the title, but that'd take too long, so I'll just say that this is a pretty routine gag reel an' move on.

  • Look Who Stopped By (9 min.; HD): The first of Jack and Jill's featurettes breezes through the parade of cameos in the flick, including Kevin Nealon,
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    Jared Fogle, Billy Blanks, Drew Carey, and Shaq.

  • Boys Will Be Girls (4 min.; HD): Turns out that Adam Sandler's not the only one doing the RuPocalypse thing in Jack and Jill, and "Boys Will Be Girls" takes a look at that whole gender-bending deal.

  • Stomach Ache (4 min.; HD): So, here you get to spend a sunny Californian afternoon lounging around the set with Regis Philbin, who does a dayplayer thing here as as pitchman for some diarrhea medicine. Look on in hushed awe as Reeg pals around with Dana Carvey as he whips out his best Regis impression, so you get a winking smile and a way-too-enthused thumbs-up from me.

  • Don't Call It a Boat: Royal Caribbean (3 min.; HD): Jack and Jill spent twelve days filming on Allure of the Seas, courtesy of Royal Caribbean. Allure of the Sea is the flagship of Royal Caribbean's line of...wait, is saying "ships" again here redundant? Anyway, it's the largest ship of its kind the world over, offering the sort of unparalleled luxury and comfort that you've come to expect from your friends at Royal Caribbean.

The whole thing comes packaged in a glossy cardboard slipcover, and you get your DVD and UltraViolet digital copy while you're at it.

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