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Home / Articles / Entertainment / Screen /  A pail of awful
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Thursday, November 17,2011

A pail of awful

By Roger Moore

 

Forget  Jack and Jill and the fact that Adam Sandler plays them both and not particularly well in his new “twins” comedy. Al Pacino is almost reason enough to see it, all by his bigger-than-life self.

Can I get a “HOO hah”? Pacino plays a scary, cartoonish and more over-the-top-than-usual version of himself in this farce and scores big laughs with every entrance. He’s performing Richard III on the L.A. stage, bellowing at cellphone users. He may take Man of La Mancha to Broadway, even though he sings like Sinatra’s pet bullfrog.

And he’s mad for Jill, Jack’s obnoxious Bronx cheer of a sister, whom he met while sitting next to Johnny Depp in a Justin Bieber T-shirt at an L.A. Lakers game.

Jack (Sandler) is a wealthy TV commercial director who can’t stand his yenta-sibling, Jill (Sandler again). She comes to visit over the holidays, craving a little “twin time,” and all Jack can think of is ditching her.

“We shared our mother’s WOMB,” Jill pleads.

“We’re WOMB-mates!” Jack needs Pacino to do this new “Dunkiccino” commercial for Dunkin Donuts, so when Jill catches the wild-eyed Oscar-winner’s attention, Jack needs his twin — or her clothes, in case he has to dress up like her to “close the deal.”

Even by sloppy Sandler movie standards, this one’s a wreck — fart jokes, potty zingers and pit-stain gags. Cameos from infomercial stars and ex-Saturday Night Live colleagues pepper the set, along with product placement from a certain pink stomach medicine, the aforementioned donuts and even a cruise line. Mexican comic Eugenio Derbez does some catchphrase shtick.

One running gag works: Scripted “interviews” with real twins open and close the film and are funnier than anything Sandler’s house director, Dennis Dugan, has ever managed. They’re the reason Jack and Jill starts off as though it’s going to be far more evolved than the usual how-low-can-they-go wallow.

Sandler’s such a feeble actor that his bellowing rages never match the expression he musters on his blank face. He puts all his efforts into playing a woman, broadly and badly, so much so that the male twin is even duller than standard-issue Sandler.

But then there’s Pacino, out of place and yet somehow right at home. You want big? Al does BIG. And since this is as close as we’re likely to get to “Don Corleone Does Don Quixote,” that alone is worth the price of admission.

—MCT, Tribune Media Service Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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