From Saturday Night Live to a multimillion-dollar film mogul, Adam Sandler didn’t get that far without crafting a recognisable formula of boundary-breaking comedy. Although, recently, this has translated into a lucrative line of bankable films. In 2011, Sandler pushed his comedic envelope for one of his most controversial, yet iconic roles, as both pairs of twins, in Jack and Jill.
Jack has it all, a loving family, a good job managing a creative agency, but his company is floundering somewhat. His troubles are exacerbated when Sister Jill comes into town for the holidays. Jack finds her to be obnoxious, but twins do often bicker. His sister’s stay is getting increasingly on his nerves. Yet his fortunes can be reversed somewhat, if Jack can get Al Pacino to star in his client’s commercial, he can save his company. When the Hollywood star falls for Jill, Jack sees an opportunity to save his business, but that lies entirely on Jill’s shoulders.
As others have pointed out, Jack’s job gives him an ample lifestyle, and a less than subtle way to promote some big brands, with a plethora of real-world brands, prominently displayed, used and talked about. It doesn’t feel shocking to see stars now, at the forefront of brand endorsements, and product promotion in films has gone a long way since Wayne’s World. Product placement is only a small facet of Jack and Jill’s story, the audience is mainly here to see Sandler play twins. And with interviews from actual twins, describing their experiences, it is insightful to see where this footage informs Sandler et al. in crafting the siblings. They certainly get that, along with some wordplay, a seasoning of gross-out gags. In short, whatever you want from the premise, you’ll find it in Jack and Jill.
Since the film is titled Jack and Jill, both played by Adam Sandler. It allows Sandler to play two different characters, two different ways, in the same film. Jack is a struggling executive, whose agency is on the ropes, and just needs a big win. He plays it rather straight, with his aspirational everyman archetype, familiar territory for his comedy. When being Jill, you can tell that it is Sandler’s opportunity to let loose, with the majority of the cleverer lines and gags. Jack and Jill’s charms do not rest entirely on the shoulders of Sandler, as Jack and Jill manage to rope in some notable actors, from familiar faces like Geoff Pierson and even Valerie Mahaffey from The Powers That Be. The situation works well for Adam Sandler, who gets to hang out in a lovely house, all while getting to work alongside some big names. With the likes of Katie Holmes and Al Pacino has had the dubious honour of appearing in Gigli and now playing himself here. Complete with a plug for Dunkaccinos that will infamously go down in history as one of his most memorable roles.
For all its notoriety, Jack and Jill is yet another film in the Happy Madison collection, maybe it is because films like Jack and Jill mark a turning point for the star’s collection. Fears can be allayed, as Sandler’s shtick still shines strongly. This will be yet another film that will please his fans and offers the comedian a fantastic opportunity to hang out while making a lot of money for a lot of people. There are gags galore as this simple, but effective story reaches its conclusion.
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