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Movie Review

Jack and Jill

Twice the Sandler, half the fun

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By Tom Russo
Globe Correspondent / November 11, 2011

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Were people really clamoring to see Adam Sandler go bigger and broader with the Gap girl routine that he, David Spade, and Chris Farley used to do on “SNL’’? We’re thinking no - and yet out comes the stuffed manssiere for “Jack and Jill,’’ in which Sandler goofs around in a dual role as an LA ad exec and the screechy twin sister he can’t stand. You may well feel likewise.

The whole drag routine just isn’t all that funny, and the character eases from intolerably abrasive to tolerably dumb only when it is time to shoehorn in the usual nominal life lessons. Sandler’s act mostly plays like Dustin Hoffman’s Dorothy Michaels without the charm.

What’s more genuinely wacky is what a kick the movie can sometimes be, completely in spite of its big, flat stunt. The story has Jack reluctantly letting Jill visit him, his wife (Katie Holmes), and their family for Thanksgiving, only for the nudging to quickly start for an extended-stay invite.

Enter Al Pacino, giddily playing himself (the film’s other, more successful stunt). When Jack sets out to woo him for a commercial, Pacino makes clear that he’s all about wooing Jill, whose eau-de-Bronxness intoxicates him. Suddenly, Jack is fine with Jill sticking around, but Jill isn’t so sure she’s fine with Al, and complications ensue. It isn’t long before Pacino is anxiously checking his cell in the middle of performing “Richard III’’ to see if he’s good to go for a second date.

Not that you have to get that far into the movie for flashes of something different from Sandler, who co-scripted, and go-to director Dennis Dugan (helmer, puzzlingly, of silly winners like “Happy Gilmore’’ and duds like “Grown Ups’’).

Dugan opens and closes the film with appealing documentary snippets of real-life adult twins bonding and teasing. The story works its ad-agency backdrop to squeeze in crackerjack cameos by everyone from John McEnroe to Subway pitchman Jared Fogle. And we even get to see Pacino do a Dunkin’ Donuts spot, complete with production number. Awful? Nah, that’d just be the drag-hyping ads for “Jack and Jill.’’

Tom Russo can be reached at

JACK AND JILL Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Written by: Steve Koren and Adam Sandler, from a story by Ben Zook

Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, and Al Pacino

At: Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs

Running time: 89 minutes

Rated: PG (crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence and brief smoking)

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