In the opening scenes of the new "comedy" Jack and Jill commercial director Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) and his business partners take a break from the set of their Regis Philbin-starring Pepto Bismol commercial to discuss the prospect of landing Al Pacino for a new Dunkin' Donuts spot. Even with the pressure mounting the idea of landing the A-Lister is the least of Jack's worries—his real stress stemming from his heinous twin sister Jill (also played by Sandler) who is scheduled to visit for Thanksgiving. We don't know much about Jill at that point but even the prospect of spending a few days with his sibling prompts the cankerous Jack to chug an entire bottle of the commercial's pink antidiarrheal product.
Turns out the medical cocktail was quite appropriate. By the end of Jack and Jill kicking back an entire bottle of Pepto Bismol may be the first logical step to curing the gut-wrenching feeling induced by the movie's painfully lazy antics. To call the latest from Sandler's Happy Madison Productions (Paul Blart: Mall Cop Grown Ups Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star) a bad movie isn't strong enough. Nor is describing it as a complete void of comedy. And the movie doesn't even come close to a so-stupid-its-funny scenario. No Jack and Jill is honest to goodness mental destruction—a collision of half-baked comedy sketches violent potty humor shrouded racism shotgun celebrity cameos and unapologetic product placement. There is more coherency care and consideration poured in to a child's spin art painting than any moment Sandler or director Dennis Dugan whip up for this film.
From the movie's very first moments to its obvious ham-fisted conclusion the mere presence of Jill sends Jack into a temper meltdown—and it's not hard to see why. Sandler's lady from the Bronx is a loud abhorrent self-loathing woman an obtuse fish-out-of-water who sees no issue with stereotyping Jack's adopted Indian son or using phrases like "make chocolate squirties" after a night of chimichangas (may I recommend Pepto Bismol?). The script would like us to feel sympathetic for Jill as she's turned down by every man she meets adding to her existing physical appearance woes ("I'm too fat!" she declares before hopping up on a horse and crushing it under her own weight). Unfortunately it's obvious that no one behind-the-camera actually gives a damn about her or any of the other characters to help realize that struggle honestly or humorously.
Knowing the movie can't entirely rely on Jill's flatulence to baffle its audience Jack and Jill employs a number of shameless drive-by appearances from across the Hollywood spectrum to replace actual entertainment. Johnny Depp Jared the Subway Guy Shaq Bruce Jenner the Sham-Wow Guy and Drew Carey (who Jill meets while embarrassing herself on The Price Is Right) all stop by for a cheap laugh. Maybe that's a good thing—the cameos are nonsensical enough to distract from Jack and Jill's plot one that trudges along at a glacial pace as Jill finds ways to stay at Jack's house and ruin her brother's life.
Sandler recruited Katie Holmes and Al Pacino to fill the film's two non-twin roles and to the benefit of their careers he gives them little to do. Holmes isn't given a single scene in which she does anything more than rag on Jack for hating his sister or detach objects her son perpetually tapes to his body (a pepper shaker a hamster a bird a lobster). Pacino has a meatier role one that you may even expect to garner a few laughs spoofing his thunderous thespian self who melts at the sight of Jill. But the material director Dennis Dugan bestows on the legendary actor is scraped from the bottom of the barrel. Not even Pacino can make passing off gibberish as a foreign language funny. The saving grace for the movie is watching Pacino go method and pursue Jill as Don Quixote from The Man of La Mancha. At that point the reference is a reminder that out there somewhere beyond the movie theater/black hole playing Jack and Jill is a world full of culture and class.
Jack and Jill isn't really a movie but more of an extended Royal Caribbean Cruises commercial with a Dunkin Donuts dance number set to an extended fart exploding from a dragged-out Adam Sandler's buttocks. The bar for entertainment value has never been set lower than this film an experience so toxic to the mind that along with its PG-rating should carry a warning label from Surgeon General.
Better make it two Pepto-Bismols.
The latest chapter in Martin Scorsese’s fruitful DiCaprio phase is the haunting psychological thriller Shutter Island. Based on the bestselling novel by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane Shutter Island casts Leo as U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels a World War II veteran and recent widower assigned with investigating the escape of a female inmate from Ashecliffe Hospital a facility for the criminally insane housed on an ominous island outside Boston Harbor.
Ashecliffe Hospital is the Casa Bonita of mental institutions a decaying storm-battered Gothic fortress packed with raving homicidal crazies from all sides of the lunatic spectrum. Orderlies dressed in asylum white and almost uniformly African-American attempt to subdue their screams while impassive physicians subject their brains to all manner of rudimentary — and often barbaric — experimental “treatments” considered cutting-edge in the early ‘50s. (Shutter Island's story is set in 1954 back when lobotomies were regularly dispensed and homosexuality was still officially classified as a mental disorder.)
The proprietor of this madhouse is Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) an effete probing psychiatrist whose bowtie alone suggests a near-infinite capacity for evil. (Seriously — never trust any bowtie-wearer not named Pee Wee Herman. Just look at this guy.) He’s flanked by the German-born Dr. Naehring (Max Von Sydow) a vision of clinical Teutonic malevolence wrapped in a labcoat and wire-rimmed glasses. Needless to say Marshal Daniels is immediately suspicious of both.
The case of the missing inmate proves to be something of a red herring and Shutter Island an abrupt conspiratorial turn when Daniels reveals to his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) his true motive for coming to Ashecliffe: Housed somewhere within its walls he believes is the arsonist responsible for the apartment fire that killed his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams) just a few years prior. What’s more Ashecliffe appears to be no mere hospital but rather a secret government facility wherein gruesome Nazi-inspired mind-control experiments are conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the hopes of gaining an edge on the Commies.
Suddenly faint sounds of the cuckoo alarm can be heard and as Daniels sets out to unravel the conspiracy the conspiracy has already begun to unravel him. Wandering through Ashecliffe’s creaking labyrinth he's beset by haunting visions and engulfed by Scorsese’s menacing atmospheric blend of flickering lights leaky ceilings violent thunderclaps deranged inmates and other classic crazymaking cinematic conventions. Throw in some abrupt smash cuts a jarringly arrhythmic score and an undercurrent of Cold War paranoia and you've got yourself one terrifyingly potent batsh*t crazy stew.
Sometimes too potent. Shutter Island's narrative is bedeviled by inconsistent pacing its slow burn all too often interrupted by overlong exposition-heavy dialogue exchanges that effectively halt the film's momentum forcing Scorsese to build the tension again from scratch as we struggle to process the revelations that have just been dumped upon us. And its extended "I see dead people" denouement strays into the hackneyed abyss of Shyamalan-land. Thankfully for us it doesn't linger long enough to spoil all the brain-scrambling fun.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
Two childhood buddies are forever changed by their first encounter with Playboy magazine. The story picks up 10 years later focusing on Tucker Cleigh a sex-obsessed moron who beds every girl he meets plus his conservative friend Eugene Bell who practices abstinence with his uptight girlfriend Cindi and joins her in teaching its virtues to younger students. But when Cindi decides she's ready to "do it" on prom night Eugene nervously complies but gets drunk falls down a flight of stairs and lands in a four-year coma. When he awakens he discovers Cindi has become a nude Playboy centerfold and joins Tucker on a chaotic cross-country trip to get to the Playboy mansion where he hopes to find Cindi — and Tucker gets to live out his wildest playmate fantasies.
WHO'S IN IT?
Miss March exists as a comic vehicle for its "stars " Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore members of a Brooklyn comedy group whose TV show The Whitest Kids U Know ran for several seasons on IFC. The team also co-directs and writes this witless hodgepodge of gross-out gags attempting to find humor in tasteless — not to mention sexist — setups. It makes last summer's The House Bunny look like Citizen Kane by comparison. Moore seems to be channeling early Jim Carrey as he plays a sex-crazed idiot who spends most of the movie trying to help his best friend (played by Cregger) lose his virginity despite an endless array of inanely conceived psychological and medical obstacles. With no one to rein them in these writer/director/stars overplay to the extreme and go for the cheapest laughs imaginable. Trying to mine physical humor out of situations dealing from epileptic sex to uncontrolled bowels this team throws it all at the wall but not much sticks. The rest of the cast including Raquel Alessi Molly Stanton 2007 Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood and Craig Robinson — as an expletive-hurtling rapper named Horsedick.MPEG (in a gag repeated at least ten times) — are left twisting in the wind. Robinson however does get mileage out of a triple-X hardcore rap parody.
A scene where Eugene and Cindi try to teach sexual abstinence to a sparse audience of inattentive undergrads is amusing and well played. Unfortunately it occurs in the first 10 minutes. After that you're on your own.
Just about everything else including a dopey subplot involving a group of revenge-seeking firemen desperate stunt-laden gags egregiously over-the-top product placement for Playboy and one embarrassing scene after another designed to get the hardest R-rating possible.
MOST MEMORABLE LINE
Eighty-two-year-old Playboy founder Hugh Hefner gets to offer this bon mot in his one-scene cameo: "There's a bunny deep down inside every woman and if you see that bunny you're on to something."
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN …
The opening credits start. Then sneak into a better movie instead.