Watching an Adam Sandler movie is a lot like death. They say that right before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. In similar fashion, as you sit through the opening credits of a Sandler flick, his whole cinematic oeuvre runs through your head. And the inevitable questions arise: How many movies has this guy made that I’ve actually seen? How many hits has Sandler achieved among his sprawling sea of misses? Where will this one rank in the hierarchy of suckitude?
Let’s break it down:
Happy Gilmore — The only truly classic Sandler film. HG contains boatloads of funny moments and dialogue. Sandler seems comfortable in his skin, and his humor seems effortless. Some of the best, most memorable characters in comedy (e.g., Shooter McGavin) as well as lines (“You eat pieces of sh*t for breakfast?”) can be found here. The movie is far from perfect, and contains various unfortunate scenes (the Bob Barker golf course melee is stupid, and the giant James Bond-villain-guy-threatening-McGavin-from-the-sidelines is awkward). But as a whole, the film is riotous, watchable again and again.
Billy Madison — People like to say that BM, while not as good as HG, is still funny. It isn’t. It’s boring and silly, through and through.
Big Daddy — For me, this was by far the most awkward Sandler film. It overflowed with cringe-worthy moments and dialogue. It didn’t help that it starred the two worst child actors in television, who haven’t gotten better with age. Yeah, it pretty much sucked hard.
The Waterboy — If memory serves (it may not) this might be Sandler’s worst film overall. I distinctly recall that it didn’t contain a single funny moment. NOT ONE. But I’ve mostly blocked it out, for good reason.
Little Nikky — Almost saw it, but not quite. Heard it sucked.
After Little Nicky, I stopped paying attention to Sandler, frankly. Now, I realize there are some other contenders that aren’t quite as bad as those listed above: I enjoyed Sandler’s relatively low-key (for him) comedic performance in The Wedding Singer, and lots of people enjoyed Punch Drunk Love (but not me). Sandler’s lastest offering with Seth Rogen seemed better written than usual (no surprise, given Rogen’s involvement), but I’ve only seen parts of it, so I can’t really speak to the movie as a whole. I never bothered to see Spanglish.
Anyway, Jack and Jill stars Adam Sandler as both a successful SoCal businessman (Jack) and his annoying twin sister from New York (Jill). Jill comes out for a visit, and hilarity ensues, allegedly. Sandler needs Al Pacino to agree to star in his Dunkin’ Donuts commercial or he’ll lose his biggest client. Pacino falls head-over-heals in love with Jill, and suddenly Jack needs Jill like he never has before. Then … OK, I’m totally bored typing this.
Folks, everything about this movie is bad. EVERYTHING. The dialogue is terrible. The jokes fall flat (they are often extremely scatological — aimed at your 13-year old — but not in a good way). Sandler doesn’t even seem like he’s trying. He is utterly unconvincing as a woman (he’s been more persuasive on SNL). Yes, Jill is supposed to be annoying, but she’s so uncharming and uninteresting throughout that you find yourself wishing she was dead. Jack’s adopted South Asian son utters one line that might have been funny if uttered by an adult, but not from a child (a common pet peeve of mine). Unlike in The Waterboy, I admit I mildly chucked half-a-dozen times here, but these were honestly half-courtesy laughs. I have no memory of what I laughed at, but they were minor, perhaps even unintentional, moments of humor.
Katie Holmes is in this, but so what? It’s Al Pacino’s decision to lend his star power to this travesty that is truly mystifying. What the Hell? I have to conclude Sandler’s sitting on a juicy sex tape which he used to blackmail Pacino into participating. Even if it’s not true, I can think of no better explanation. So there you go Al: All you got for your involvement in this mess was buzz about your declining career and a guy on the internet, spreading rumors about your incriminating sex tape. Congratulations.
There is really only one moment in the film where I genuinely enjoyed myself: Jill enters a restaurant where we meet David Spade as an overweight, slutty girl from Jill’s highschool days who despises her. Spade doesn’t say anything funny. Spade doesn’t do anything funny. But his looks honestly caused me to crack a smile for about two seconds. So there’s that.
In sum, if spending $11.00 (plus another $6.00 for parking) seems a small price to pay to see David Spade in a dress, I recommend you see this movie. (Loiter in the lobby for most of it, then pop your head in the theatre about 75% of the way through; don’t bother sitting down). Otherwise, you’ve got no excuse to be there.