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Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011 10:47 pm

Jack and Jill needs less Sandler and more Pacino

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For some odd reason I was looking forward to Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill. I can’t explain it, I certainly don’t have an excuse for it and I’ve never been on pins and needles waiting for any of the actor’s other movies. Out of concern for my health I went online and found out that while dizziness, partial paralysis and vision problems are symptoms of an impending stroke, looking forward to an Adam Sandler film is not. This is good news.

The premise of the film, which features Sandler as the twins of the title, struck me as a possible “so bad it’s good” situation. Within the first 15 minutes I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s not much to the plot. The comic plays a haggard director of television commercials whose company is at a crossroads. Their biggest client, Dunkin’ Donuts, insists that he enlist Al Pacino for a new series of ads because his name rhymes with their new coffee drink. Of course, Jack knows there’s no way he’ll be able to enlist the Oscar winner for such a dubious project, and to make matters worse, his ever-irritating sister is set to visit for the holidays.

Obvious slapstick sequences ensue, as do a series of unimaginative jokes all played at Jill’s expense. However, there’s one inspired element in the movie and that would be Pacino himself. How Sandler nabbed him to play himself in the film is beyond me. Inexplicably he falls for Jill, and his pursuit of her shows the actor at ease on the screen in a way I can’t remember him being previously. Fully invested in the gags, Pacino is obviously having great fun lampooning his image, never more obviously than when we see him singing, dancing and rapping in the commercial he eventually agrees to star in. Uproariously funny, this ad and the reaction to it is almost worth the price of admission. It’s not enough to salvage this lazy effort, but seeing Pacino so inspired gives me hope that some of this mojo will show up in the actor’s other films. 

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