On Sunday, the Golden Raspberry Awards, the most prestigious award ceremony for miserable failures in the art and science of filmmaking, gave "Jack and Jill" its famed prize for Worst Film of the Year. That means it joins other mega-failures like "Showgirls", "Battlefield Earth", and 2010's "The Last Airbender" in the pantheon of hilariously unwatchable crap. Then again, using the word "hilarious" anywhere in conjunction with "Jack and Jill" is a criminally malignancy of the English language, I apologize for that. Anyway, "Jack and Jill" was such an especially awful piece of film, that the Razzies gave it all ten awards. It was a full sweep, taking the prize for Worst Actor (Adam Sandler), Worst Actress (Adam Sandler), Worst On-Screen Couple (Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler), and it even managed to bend the rules by getting Worst Rip-Off, Remake, or Sequel for supposedly being a remake of the Ed Wood transexual classic, "Glen or Glenda".
For me personally, this offered a special opportunity, since I haven't seen "Jack and Jill" for well... obvious reasons. But I also haven't seen the Best Movie of the Year, according to the Oscars, "The Artist". So last night I did something that no other person on Earth has ever done: I watched "Jack and Jill" and "The Artist" back to back, in a deranged double-feature. That way I could run the full spectrum of Hollywood, from what it has hailed to be its very best, to what it has regretted to be its very worst. All in the name of science. Also, having seen "Jack and Jill", I now have incredible pains in my stomach, probably having been created from stress burning a hole deep within my bowels. I'm now blind in one eye. We can be sure that thanks to my crazy experiment, my life has been considerably shortened.
Immediately I have to admit, I have no idea what Adam Sandler was thinking when he made this movie. "Jack and Jill" is probably the worst comedy I've seen since "Corky Romano", which you might know as the movie so bad that even Noah Antwiler, the Spoony One, had to walk out of. Its not merely an annoying comedy, its not merely unfunny, its completely nonsensical. Its like if you woke up on an alien planet and walked into one of their alien movie houses, and watched a comedy made for those non-human creatures. And while you sit there, utterly perplexed, not really sure how to react to the strange things that happen on-screen. For example, on screen, a cube morphs into a sphere and then gives Gerald Ford's 1976 State of the Union address. When this happens, the strange purple bulbous creatures around you vibrate mechanically after every attempted gag, in what you can only assume is that species' approximation of laughter. I guess the only sane thing to do in that situation is to kill yourself.
By the way, I saw "Jack and Jill" entirely alone for... obvious reasons.
I was worried before this review that I would have nothing to add to the "Jack and Jill" discourse. Ever since the trailers hit theatres, mature audiences everywhere have been stunned into shock and horror that such a movie could be made. "South Park" pretty much said it all. Then Red Letter Media's "Half in the Bag" gave a massively detailed review, where they pointed out that "Jack and Jill" is (allegedly) nothing more than a cheap fake movie made to give Adam Sandler and his buddies lots of money from petty advertising and the ticket sales of retarded people. And they're right. Just check out that picture above, and count the Coca-Cola labels you spot. Critics almost universally have trashed this movie for being terribly horrible and horribly terrible. They've said bad in just about every way the English language offers. So what does that leave me?
Luckily however, I found out all new kinds of ways to hate "Jack and Jill". Because it isn't just a painfully unfunny comedy, the laziest goddamn movie I have ever reviewed here, and completely unfit for human consumption. No no no. "Jack and Jill", in a really fundamental level of its psyche, is a totally hateful movie. In fact, its a movie that hates itself.
Let's start with the plot, what little there actually is. Basically the story is that you have Regular Adam Sandler (Jack) and his horribly annoying Jewish-stereotype of a sister, Jill, who comes to visit and causes a lot of trouble for Jack. Unfortunately I don't get what the Jill character is supposed to be. I think she's a stereotype. But I can't be sure. Because I'm really not sure what the Jill character's joke is. Is it that she's a really ugly man-like chick? Is it that she's that really annoying relative we all have? Is it that she's actually Regular Guy Adam Sandler's repressed immature side that he can't stand? Or is she a horribly racist - yeah racist - shrewish Jew character? Yeah, Adam Sandler might be Jewish, but that doesn't mean he can't create a racist movie against his own people, and he has. As a Jew myself, I'm fairly disgusted at this. Jill at times is all of these things, and also none of them, since this movie is too goddamn lazy to ever have been about anything. Or to make any sense.
Plus Adam Sandler's performance as Jill is massively bad. Like, this should be rightfully career-ending. He does such a bad job, the character makes so little sense (for some reason Jill has super-strength - why?), and its so not funny. Did Adam Sandler let his kids watch this?
The Jill character is not the only joke that totally falls flat and doesn't make sense, there are plenty to choose from. For example, Adam Sandler's kid is Indian, and he likes to tape things to himself. The little kid, by the way, gives the best performance in this movie. Jill constantly brings up movies, describes them in great detail, but can never remember their title, and refuses to believe people when they tell her what the title is. You can never laugh at anything that happens, because none of it makes any goddamn sense.
But here's the thing about "Jack and Jill", and its a weird dynamic that goes on in this movie. Jill is actually pretty well-liked by all the other characters. Adam Sandler's kids both seem to love their Aunt Jill, I don't know why, but they do. Katie Holmes, who is utterly wasted in this movie as Jack's wife, seems to side with Jill more often than not than with Jack. She's always playing the peace maker, in fact, I think she's indulging her husband's truly disturbing hatred for his sister. The Mexican gardener - we'll get into that issue soon enough - genuinely cares for Jill as a friend. And Al Pacino - yes Al Pacino - is totally in love with her. The only character who doesn't like Jill is Jack, her brother. Jill is annoying and clumsy, but she always means well. She just wants to spend time with her family because her one friend in life was her mother, who died recently, she has nothing but an open heart. Jack on the other hand comes off as a horrible person, and basically uses his sister repeatedly to try to get Al Pacino to make a coffee commercial.
Oh that was the plot, by the way. Jack wants Al Pacino to make a coffee commercial, and to do that, he manipulates his lonely sister and tries to whore her out to the once-great actor.
I find it curious, by the way, that its the straight Adam Sandler character, Jack, that hates Jill so much in this movie. Jack is Adam Sandler playing himself. And he created this movie, he created the character of Jill. Yet its Adam Sandler who brings nothing but rage and disgust at the character of Jill on the screen. He hates her more than I do, I think. I at least can feel bad for Jill, since she's been cursed to look like Adam Sandler and is really lonely because of it. Is Adam Sandler's irrational hatred of his own character some kind of metafictional creator's commentary? Probably. I'd like to think that Adam Sandler knew, on some level, what he was doing here, what he unleashed with this terrible movie. But then again, maybe I would rather believe that Adam Sandler thought he just made an innocent stupid comedy that people could enjoy without thinking, since that means he isn't as much of a monster in real life as he is in this movie. Either way, "Jack and Jill" on a deeper level, is a movie that can't stand its own existence. How in the world could it ever have hoped to entertain audiences when it doesn't even like itself?
"Jack and Jill" goes from merely misfired comedy to utterly reprehensible when it comes to the Mexican jokes. Now this is me here, I don't go around calling everything I see racist. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm never the super PC guy, who needs everything shut down when you say one sexist thing - I even stood up a bit for Rush Limbaugh last month. But this is supposedly a family comedy, yet the kind of horrible racist things that get said in this movie is stuff I'd never show little kids. There's this Mexican gardener character, whose main purpose in the movie is to just randomly spout out incredible awful things. He says stuff like "my kids just came from across the border", "my family robs wallets from White people", etc. etc. Its disgusting. Then he always takes it back with "I'm just keeding!" I'm not sure if you're supposed to laugh at the racist jokes or the fact that he's messing with people - very little of the comedy in this movie makes any sense. But because its being said by a Latino actor, I'm supposed to think its okay? No, you don't get a pass for saying things like this. At least with characters like Uncle Ruckus on "The Boondocks", I know he's being written by Aaron McGruber, an African American, who has his own sophisticated political agenda. Adam Sandler doesn't care at all. This movie is so lazy that it dips into hate speech for cheap laughs.
No surprise then that the entire Mexican gardener subplot was cut out of the Latin American release of "Jack and Jill". If only the United States was worthy of such consideration.
Then there's Al Pacino. Once upon a time, I would have said, without reservation, that Al Pacino was one of the greatest actors to have ever lived. You got "The Godfather" movies, "Scarface", "Dog Day Afternoon", "And Justice for All", "Glengarry Glen Ross", "Carlito's Way", "Angels in America", and lots of Shakespeare, he was a titan of cinema. Now he's managed to find a worse movie to be in than "Gigli". And Al Pacino has a big part in this movie, he's central to the plot. I was hoping that just being Al Pacino would make his parts entertaining, but... oh my God. His performance in this movie is so bad. Like, there are scenes of him doing Shakespeare in the middle of the film, and even when he's running off the Bard's lines, its awful. Al Pacino throws it all into this movie, and boy does he ever fail. Please, Mr. Pacino, before you do any more damage to the history of cinema, please retire. There is a moment where Al Pacino runs into a restaurant dressed like Don Quixote to get his Dulcinea, Jill. And its utterly surreal. In one moment "Jack and Jill" hurts Cervantes, all of musical theatre, and Al Pacino in one blow.
At the end of the "Jack and Jill", Adam Sandler finally shows off his new Al Pacino commercial. Here's the clip of that commercial. I dare you to fucking watch it. I double-dog dare you. It is the worst single thirty seconds of movie. That is a feat that will never be replicated, ever. Al Pacino, after watching it in-movie, has one horrified reaction: "burn this." "This must never be seen by anybody." And in real life, I suspect that Al Pacino and Adam Sandler had a similar conversation upon seeing the final cut. Adam Sandler didn't take Al's advice.
I hate to disagree with an institution as illustrious as the Razzies, but honestly, I'd fucking watch "Jack and Jill" TWICE before I saw "Tree of Life" again. Three times! I don't care how much is ruins Al Pacino and his impressive filmography. "Tree of Life" was my nightmare. Never again.
So now we move on to "The Artist", to complete this properly insane juxtaposition of the Best and the Worst. What will we learn upon comparing these two movies? If anything?