Cinema: Jack & Jill
‘…everything that is wrong with cinema today…’
When a film has a reputation, it’s incredibly difficult for the marketing to fight it. A troubled production, early reviews – negative press will always dampen the initial response to a film. Of course, there are times when this can work in its favour. With reduced expectations, anything better than what was expected means for a better experience. Let me begin this review by saying JACK & JILL is the worst film I have ever seen in my life. Worse than RED RIDING HOOD. Worse than THE DARKEST HOUR. Worse than FINAL DESTINATION 5. Worse than THE ROOM. Worse than THE STUPIDS – and if you know what that film is, you’re officially old. Worse than literally anything you can think of. However, as an advertisement, it is brilliant. Yes, you read that correctly – an advertisement.
The wafer-thin plot is as follows: Jack (Adam Sandler) is the head of an advertising agency. It’s Christmas. He’s got to sign Al Pacino – yes, really – to do a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial or the agency goes under. His twin sister, Jill (Adam Sandler), is arriving for the holidays. Al Pacino becomes interested in Jill. Escapades follows. That’s it. Now – on to why this is the most brilliant piece of advertising I have ever seen. This film is wall-to-wall product placement. I mean, literally, it’s an hour-and-a-half long commercial for Coca-Cola, Royal Carribean and Dunkin’ Donuts. I am not fucking kidding. A scene takes place in the cinema? What are they all drinking? Coca-Cola. The popcorn labels are all facing out so you can see the logo. They’re planning to go on a week-long cruise? With who? Royal Carribean. In fact, the set-up for that scene is literally like one of their advertisements. A host looks square into the lens and says, “Welcome to Royal Carribean” – just like in the ads – and then gives a good three minutes of footage to the cruise ship. And you know why this works so well as an advertisement? Because I was watching this scene – replete with fun activities like rock-climbing, a pool on the ship, bars – and thinking, ‘Hey, fuck – I should totally look into doing a cruise at some stage.’ IT ACTUALLY FUCKING WORKED. And then, it hit me. It hit me so hard in the brain, I nearly collapsed off my chair. It was so ingenious, so brilliantly simple, you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. My guard was down. I was in a darkened cinema, during a film, and I was being shown an advertisement. And it worked. It crossed over my skeptic barriers and got into my brain.
Any regular cinemagoer will tell you that there’s, at a minimum, twenty solid minutes of advertising before you actually get to the film. I’m not talking trailers, mind – which most people can stomach with a reasonable amount of goodwill. I’m talking advertisements with Liv Tyler’s deadened gaze, extolling the virtues of shampoo and how it revitalised her flagging career. Whenever I go to the cinema as a regular punter, I make a point of holding back at least ten minutes after the programmed start. I am paying cash money for entertainment, not advertisements. But JACK & JILL is so insidious, it blatantly crowbars them into the film.
This film is frightening on so many levels. Film-making is an expensive art; nobody denies this. Directors don’t always get their way and have to compromise on certain things. It could be cast, it could special effects or locations and so on. And yes, unfortunately, sometimes they have to include product placement. We accept it as a necessary evil. You may argue – and I’d agree with you – that if a film is of quality, it won’t need these things. The film’s worthy of being made without these entanglements. And that’s true. But, the unfortunate reality is is that money is drying up in cinemas and in order to make it a profitable business for producers and studios, avenues that are unseemly have to be explored. And, like I said, we the public accept it. We accept it because we want the film to be made, we take it in stride and forgive them for the sake of the quality of the story and so forth. What makes this film is so frightening is that there was absolutely no quality to be gleaned from this at all. This film was, as RedLetterMedia assiduously pointed out, something closer to ‘an embezzlement scheme’. By the way, if you have twenty minutes to spare, go watch their review – it does a far better job of articulating how awful this film is than I ever can.
JACK & JILL is everything that is wrong with cinema today. The film has absolutely no redeeming qualities. It is recycled and harvested – if you’ve seen any of Adam Sandler’s previous films, you’ve seen this one too. Adam Sandler proves he has absolutely no fucking morals whatsoever and ranks now as this critic’s most hated and despicable actor ever. Yes, he beats Robert Pattinson. You wouldn’t catch Edward Cullen doing this ham-fisted shit, let me tell you. Katie Holmes is a non-entity. To waste my effort by giving her performance any mention would serve no purpose. We come to the true villain of this film – Al Pacino. I love HEAT. Anyone who knows me personally knows that it is my favourite film of all time, that I harp and proselytise about it constantly and that I regard it as the single greatest piece of cinematic art ever. Al Pacino is one of the main stars in this film. Therefore, I am now going on record as saying HEAT is no longer my favourite film. Why? Because Al Pacino has ruined any goodwill I had towards him with this shit. He sings and dances about Dunkin’ Donuts at the end of the film. Yes, really. Al Pacino, Michael Corleone, Vincent Hanna, Ricky Roma, Tony Montana – is singing – about fucking donuts. I get that, when an actor reaches a certain age and has completed his goals, he can now do roles than don’t necessarily tax him all that much. He can lampoon himself and his previous roles. I understand that completely. I may not necessarily like it, but I get it. This is not that. This is Al Pacino saying, “I don’t give a fuck, pay me my money.”
This film will not be rated by Drop-d because it is not a film. It’s an advertisement. I urge you personally to never watch this tripe, ever. If you do, they’ll win. They’ll keep putting more and more product placement into films because, hey, it fucking worked this time. People swallowed this shit whole and didn’t bat an eyelid about it. If you’re OK with watching hammered shit for an hour and a half, go see this film. Otherwise, consign this to a darkened corner, never to see the light of day. Do not pay money to see this film.
DROP-D RATING: N/A