What happens when two of the biggest titans of cinema cross the intergenerational gap, smashing headfirst through the thin walls of reason to be as one, writhing, naked and coalescing each other like some labyrinthine, two-headed deity? Answer: Jack and Jill.
While many critics, including whatever air-headed monkey loser punches their colourful number pad at Rotten Tomatoes, panned this film, it goes without saying that Jack and Jill stands to this day as the number one movie about twins in which the main actor plays both twins. As if the star-studded cast of Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, and Katie Holmes wasn’t enough, moviegoers were also blessed by the one and only Al Pacino. In what many on r/theSandler are referring to as “the best movie I have ever seen him in [because everyone on Reddit is 12],” Al Pacino stands miles high as he delivers his best performance since the Godfather III. The plot, characterization, and acting easily make this film worth however much Netflix costs at the time of your reading this ($8.99 CAD as of November 2nd, 2017).
When considering plot alone, it becomes apparent exactly how corrupt the Academy truly is: The fact that this film went without Best Picture consideration is truly disgusting. I don’t even want to get into the plot. But know this: The plot? Absolutely unbelievable. Imagine the intensity of Goodfellas (whose plot, according to Wikipedia, is quite riveting) meets the free-spirited attitude of Maria from The Sound of Music (also haven’t seen it, however using a keyword search I did find that word in the Wikipedia plot summary). Simply breathtaking.
Next, we must move to characterization. Jack and Jill are twins who, from a very early age, were two incredibly different people. Jack was always the star, while Jill often struggled to find her footing. Fast forward to adulthood and we see that the picture is not so different: Jack is a successful advertising executive while Jill remains, presumably, a weirdo with a parrot and love for her family. A common complaint of this film is that the characters are awful and two dimensional. And to those who have expressed that concern: Where do you get off? Didn’t you see how hard Jill had it growing up? She was always the black sheep. I guess that your thick, Neanderthal brains couldn’t make it to the end because NEWSFLASH – Jill ends up getting together with Al Pacino. Would Al Pacino fall in love with some bumbling fool stuck in the shadow of her twin brother? I believe that question answers itself. Of course, as with all other parts of being a twin, Jack’s development is not far behind Jill’s. Starting as a jaded man whose harsh words brought me to heavy tears throughout the first and second acts of this film, Jack learns to love Jill for who she is. Imagine my surprise when, after going missing in the dead of winter, Jack drops everything to find his beautiful sister! How the tears of joy fell uninterrupted into my lap then! Never have we seen this kind of real and gritty relationship between siblings on the silver screen. Perhaps that is both the biggest success of this movie, as well as its biggest failure: Writer and producer Adam Sandler’s unmatched ambition. In striving to create the ultimate twin drama, he created characters that were ultimately too visceral, too real, for esoteric and unlikeable critics to ever grasp.
With such character development, we must finally acknowledge the obvious: The acting in this movie was fucking nuts. Whether it was Jill, rolling dejectedly out of her body-shaped sweat stains each morning in the hope of finding love, or Al [Pacino] screaming his withered heart out for Jill’s affection, this movie was a master class in acting. It was reported that Daniel Day-Lewis was inspired to return to cinema following his viewing of Jack and Jill. We don’t see mastery of the craft with the men alone though: Katie Holmes brings another stunning performance to the table as well, captivating audiences with her voracious and spellbinding rendition of Jack’s wife, Erin. I would be remiss to exclude the performance of Jack and Erin’s gardener as well; “I’m kiiiiiidding,” will, without a doubt in my cinephile mind, be the catchphrase of our generation. Despite having very few lines, the man was truly the comic relief that this otherwise heavy and haunting film needed.
As readers know, That’s Dark uses the five-flashlight ranking system. While it still might be too soon to tell, I truly believe that Jack and Jill is going to be my film of the decade.