Adam Sandler has no heart. Not anymore.
I was a fan of Sandler’s earlier films (“The Wedding Singer,” “Big Daddy” and “50 First Dates”), not only because they were funny, but because Sandler played likable characters who actually cared about people, whether it was a waitress, young boy or an amnesiac. Despite his childish demeanor, he was always sweet and you cheered for his characters to succeed. His recent films, however, lack that charm and heart. No longer the underdog, he now depicts wealthy men with beautiful wives and comfortable lives (“Just Go With It,” “Click” and “Grownups”), and just stands by as supporting characters provide the humor.
“Jack and Jill” continues this pattern as Sandler plays Jack, another rich, comfortable man who once again lets another character do the work for him. Only this time, the other character is himself. Sandler also has been cast as his twin sister, Jill — a one-dimensional gag. It’s truly sad to see Sandler trade in heart, emotion and depth for silliness, cross dressing and farts.
There’s nothing funny about Jill, which is unfortunate since she’s on screen for the majority of the film. What’s even more troubling is Al Pacino playing himself. It’s one thing to poke fun at yourself in a cameo, but to star in such dreck is truly sad. Even sadder is Pacino quoting himself from “The Godfather,” and eliciting pity instead of a laugh. Did you ever think you’d see Pacino in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial? Rapping? Well you’ll see it in this movie. and it’s not easy to watch.
I’d love to see Sandler challenge himself again like he did in “Spanglish,” “Punch Drunk Love” and most recently “Funny People.” But since those films weren’t box office successes, it’s as if he’s given up and is now providing what he thinks audiences want from him. He’s sacrificed quality and heart for bathroom humor and sight gags and is obviously not even trying. The funniest scenes in “Jack and Jill” don’t even involve Sandler, but are of real life twins who share their stories in scenes that book-end the film. If Sandler doesn’t care anymore, then audiences shouldn’t either.
“Jack and Jill,” 93 minutes, is Rated PG and opens in theaters today.