Why was this movie made?
Jack (Adam Sandler, Happy Gilmore) is a successful commercial director and father of two. He dreads the visit of his obnoxious twin sister Jill (also played by Sandler) for Thanksgiving and Chanukah. Obnoxious yet needy, Jill worms her way into the family’s life, and doesn’t want to leave anytime soon. Jack tries to distract her by helping her find a boyfriend, as he also hopes to lure superstar actor Al Pacino (playing himself) to star in a commercial.
Going back to my initial question: Why was this movie made? I’ve heard from a couple of folks that their reactions to Jack and Jill’s trailer was, “Is this really a movie?” Indeed, it looks like one of those spoof trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder, depicting how shallow and out of touch Hollywood can be, except in this case someone went and actually made the whole movie.
The whole “guy dressed like a woman” thing has been a comedy staple for as long as there’s been comedy, so it’s unfortunate that Sandler does nothing with it. The Jill character is a one-note annoying relative. The movie begins right off with Jack picking up Jill at the airport, followed immediately by the awkward family dinner. This should be the big comedy set piece, but instead we’re dropped into it at the start, with no buildup of any kind. Furthermore, we’re given almost no context about Jack and Jill’s relationship prior to this. That might a good thing for Sandler’s fans, as there’s no waiting for him to start mugging it up, but, really, it gives the viewer a feeling of “why should I care?”
From there, the plot meanders. We get more lame shtick with Jill running around in L.A., Jill attempting to go on dates, and, finally, Jill joining the family for a cruise on New Years. It’s the same couple of jokes throughout—Jill annoys the hell out of Jack but then is heartbroken when Jack says so. There are a number of times when the movie tries to convince us to feel bad for Jill, not to mention the painfully sappy multiple happy endings, all of which feels false. Pacino, God bless him, tries hard to wring some laughs out of the “celebrity has a public meltdown” thing, but it just isn’t enough. There are a ton of celebrity cameos, each with not much to do. Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) barely makes an impression as Jack’s wife.
Back once more to the initial question: Why was this made? Did they think people would actually like this? No, it was made for the money. No, not your money, dear viewer—product placement money. The product placement is everywhere in this movie, in practically every scene. This is especially obvious during the final act, aboard the cruise ship. The whole thing is one big commercial for Royal Caribbean, complete with an announcer telling us how wonderful and amazing Royal Caribbean is. Call me crass, but it looks to me like the filmmakers rounded up as much product placement cash as they could, took it to the bank, and to hell with whether the movie’s any good. If you want to watch a commercial, skip this flick and just put on the TV. It has lots of commercials.
Jack and Jill looks nice and clean on Blu-ray, with bright, vivid colors. The cruise ship scenes, of course, are the visual standouts. Audio is nice and clear, with dialogue and music coming across just fine. Extras include deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and four featurettes, two of which are Blu-ray exclusives. A DVD copy is included as well.
Watching this movie, I kept flashing back to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, partially because I’d rather have watched something else, but also because it gets right everything that Jack and Jill gets wrong. Like Jill, Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation is the annoying relative come for a visit, but his relationship with Clark Griswold is not just comical but heartfelt, portrayed with earnestness by a pair of great comedians. Such earnestness is nowhere to be found in Jack and Jill.