By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — The sad arithmetic of the latest Adam Sandler offering "Jack and Jill" (Columbia) is that a double serving of its star — one in drag — adds up, in the end, to a half-witted comedy. Too crude for kids and too puerile for their elders, moreover, director Dennis Dugan’s grab bag of potty humor, harsh slapstick and pop-culture gags commands an appropriate audience of just about zero.
Sandler plays both titular characters — the former a successful Los Angeles advertising executive, the latter his well-meaning but irksome, Bronx-based twin sister. When Jill comes to town for her annual Thanksgiving visit, she warms the hearts of Jack’s dutiful wife Erin (Katie Holmes) and their duo of young’uns, son Gary (Rohan Chand) and daughter Sofia (Elodie Tougne).
But the ad man himself can hardly wait for Jill to leave again. Until, that is, she artlessly manages to win the heart of Al Pacino (playing himself), whom Jack has been trying to convince to appear in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.
As the unlikely second half of that sentence suggests, Pacino gamely makes fun of his own persona throughout. And there are numerous other celebrity sightings; in one, Johnny Depp shows up beside Pacino at a Lakers game, sporting a Justin Bieber T-shirt.
So much for the high end of the comic spectrum. The nadir of the other extremity is reached when Jill samples Mexican food for the first time, with grimly predictably — and raucous — results. It seems that Jack and Erin’s Latino gardener, Felipe (Eugenio Derbez), who’s also smitten with Jill, has taken her to a family picnic. So we’re treated to some ethnic frolicking before the bathroom bombardment commences.
Incidentally (for so it’s treated), as the sight of a lighted menorah in their window indicates, Jack and his close-knit clan are sufficiently observant Jews to mark Hanukkah. It’s mentioned in passing that Erin is a convert to Judaism, though from what — if anything — is never specified.
This being Hollywood, one can be grateful for any respectful reference to scriptural faith, however fleeting. As for the rest, it’s not worth breaking your crown.
The film contains much violent slapstick and gross scatological humor, brief implied nudity, some sexual jokes and adult references and at least one crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.