It’s difficult to describe the exact range of complex emotions I felt rush over me as I watched the trailer for Adam Sandler’s new film Jack and Jill. They certain ran the gamut, but if I had to pick one predominate emotion it would be disbelief.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, consider yourself lucky (though if you are feeling particularly masochistic, you can click the link above to view it). But to save your eyeballs from being violated, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Adam Sandler plays Jack, who is essentially the same “every man who happens to date really attractive women, never has to worry about money and isn’t actually all that relatable” character that he plays in all of his films. But, just to mix things up (and presumably, to give Eddie Murphy a break from this schtick), he also plays Jill, Jack’s twin sister.
Because the wardrobe guy figured if the writers were going to phone it in, he could too, Jill is just Adam Sandler in a cheap wig and a dress. And that’s the entire premise. That’s the joke. It’s supposed to be funny simply because he’s a man dressed like a woman. (In fairness, that has been one of England’s go to moves for centuries now, but at least when they do it it seems classier because of the accent.) Sandler is, of course, using his “generic Jewish mother” voice for Jill. (He and Jon Stewart clearly went to the same school for bad, vaguely offensive accents.)
Katie Holmes plays the love interest, which is a sign of just how far her career has fallen. It’s odd that Tom Cruise’s meltdown seems to have effected her career worse than his. He still gets to start in a new Mission: Impossible movie and she somehow went from starring in Thank You For Smoking and Batman Begins to doing this abomination and Mad Money.
However, by far the saddest casting in this is Al Pacino, who seems to be on a mission to destroy every bit of credibility he established in The Godfather movies and Dog Day Afternoon. He is playing himself in this film (though presumably somehow still managing to overact). Apparently, he has a crush on Jill, most likely because she has a GREAT ASS and he has his head ALL THE WAY UP IT!
When I first saw the trailer, I truly wanted to believe it was a joke. There’s nothing terribly surprising about Sandler taking an easy paycheck by doing a terrible, hokey movie, but this one just seemed too ridiculous to be real. I was hoping that it was all an elaborate setup for a better, less depressing film. This just seems too much like one of the fake films Sandler’s character was in in Funny People (though I’d rather watch the movie where Sandler played a talking baby than this one).
Jill jet skis in a pool, for goodness sake. Why? Why did that need to happen? First of all, the special effects on that shot make SyFy Original Movies look amazing by comparison. Plus, there’s nothing funny about it. Where’s the joke?
Those of you who have been following me for an extended period of time know that I’ve always said I have no problem with actors “selling out.” If someone ever offers me a big paycheck to buy HoboTrashcan, I’ll sign away without regret. You can call me a sellout if you want, but I’ll be too busy starting up my own underground Tapioca pudding wrestling circuit on a private beach somewhere to care.
I never fault guys like Patton Oswalt or David Cross for doing a terrible movie just to earn a paycheck. I generally chalk it up to taking what’s out there and banking the cash so they have the freedom to do the films and projects they actually want to do.
But with Sandler, I honestly don’t understand why he would do this film. He can’t possibly need the money. He’s made enough blockbuster comedies over the years that he can’t ever spend it all. Sure, he’s most likely financially supporting Allen Covert and Rob Schneider at this point, but even that can hardly make a dent in his vast fortune.
Sandler has the clout and the financial freedom to do whatever he wants to do. Studios trust him at this point, so he could easily take risks and make better films. I don’t understand the appeal for him. Did he really just want to find an excuse to parade around in a dress for a few months (not that there’s anything wrong with that)?
When I saw Funny People, I wanted to believe Sandler did the film because he was reflecting on his career and looking for a way to gain back some credibility. I thought he was becoming self-aware and realizing that it was time to go back to his roots and do better films. Clearly, that was wishful thinking.
The part may have been based on Sandler, but clearly the plot was simply wishful thinking on Judd Apatow’s part. Sandler didn’t do it to make a statement, he did it for the same reason he does everything these days – to earn another paycheck.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.