Jack and Jill (and Al Pacino)

Posted on November 27, 2011

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Adam Sandler 6821

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This afternoon I went to see Jack and Jill with Y. In spite of the two star warnings posted all over the internet, we thoroughly enjoyed this movie.

As you already know from the plethora of commercials and reviews, this movie stars Adam Sandler as Jack and Co-stars Adam Sandler as Jill, his fraternal twin. I was expecting to be disappointed along with the masses, but I was not, and here is why. I fully expected Adam Sandler, playing Jill, to take the typical macho male approach of playing a woman which would be to play a man-playing-a-woman-who-can-not-play-a-womanly-woman because he is too manly. There was a little bit of that, as Jill was able to benchpress more weight than two UFC fighter types she rotated in with at the gym and could bend it like Beckham on the soccer field, but overall Sandler created an effeminate everywoman character dressed in flattering, feminizing clothes and wearing borderline tasteful makeup. His Jill was over the top, but tastefully so. Vulgar in an innocent way, like real women can be. She had Jimmy Jenga bum after a date with a Mexican and looked like a beast getting out of bed in the morning. She left sweat stains on her bed. In short, Sandler played the side of womanhood that no real woman would ever agree to. But, we can all connect with having seen this side of womanhood, usually in a family setting since that is the only place where the unfeminine and somewhat beastly side of a woman is safe to come out.

I’m not saying I’m a beast, I’m just saying.

There were many fine features to this movie, particularly the dynamic between Sandler’s Jill and Al Pacino’s, um, Pacino. Yes, Pacino was in fine form playing himself. It was an interesting twist that Al Pacino fell madly in love with Jill and chased after her like a character from Shakespeare’s Midsummer night. It amped up the comedy since Al Pacino, known best as the Godfather, played himself, alternating between his scenes with Jack, Jill, and scenes where he is acting in a Shakespearean play and talking on a cell phone to Jack while on stage performing in front of a live audience. The audience of Jack and Jill is invited to follow two plots, one where our prior knowledge of Shakespeare and of Pacino leads us to watch the movie as a true Shakespearian comedy with characters seeking love through messengers, disguise and manipulation, of love being both a comedy and a tragedy, and to see the plot as what is offered up on the surface, which is also funny and poignant in its own right.

Pacino’s Pacino is in a rut, facing the crisis of a declining image, a world where he no longer feels at home with the people around him and longs to find belonging with Jill, a fellow child of the Bronx who he thinks could be his soulmate, who could see him for the Bronx boy that he has always been in his heart. The audience of the Shakespearean play cheers and brings out their i-phones to film him when he starts talking tough in his cell phone conversation that has halted the play. They are really there to see the Godfather, a character that has held audiences for generations, not a declining Pacino acting in some mediocre Shakespeare performance. The audience is satisfied, but Pacino is not.

Katie Holmes is well cast as Jack’s wife. A perfect contrast to Jill she has a natural femininity and quiet grace that is not as common as we women like to think. She is a contrast to Jill in her size, her manner and her etiquette, which allows the heart and passion of Jill’s character to shine through in a huge way.

There were a lot of children at the movie and I’m going to rate this movie as appropriate for tweens and families. There is some sexual innuendo, but let’s be honest what movie does not have that these days? Furthermore, Adam Sandler playing a heterosexual women loaned itself to modesty. There was only so far he was willing to go with Pacino in the name of creativity.

I am a Sandler fan, and if you are too, this movie will not disappoint. Y and I were very entertained.

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