Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic, editor of Movie City News and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming. Check a few signs on Twitter (@chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram (instagram.com/raypride). Twitter: @RayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
Adam Sandler has played a comedian, not to mention an architect, chef, firefighter, Hollywood agent, plastic surgeon and a veterinarian. In his new comedy “Jack and Jill” he is not much of a comedian on-camera or off. Credited as a producer and co-writer, Sandler plays the head of a Los Angeles advertising agency. His already limited comedic skills take a downturn, even as he doubles his screen time by playing the twins Jack Sadelstein and Jill Sadelstein. Jill’s visit to Jack’s Brentwood residence for a Thanksgiving visit lengthens into Hanukkah, the siblings’ forty-third birthday, and then a Christmas cruise on the Allure of the Seas. On New Year’s Eve, back at their Bronx roots, Jack will get over his lifelong disgust at Jill’s gaucherie. The interplay of their opposite tastes is witless. She leaves full-body “sweat stains” on the sheets, thinks Skype “sounds anti-Semitic” and misremembers obvious film titles. Nothing is funny. Not Jill’s cockatoo getting drunk on Jack Daniel’s, nor Jack’s adopted son from India taping animate and inanimate objects to his body. And a gag ranking of Indians, Jews and Germans is not even dumb enough to dumbfound. The centerpiece is Al Pacino playing himself playing King Richard III on stage and prepping for a role as Don Quixote in Method-mad style. He falls for Jill at a Lakers game as Jack tries to sign Pacino to appear in a Dunkin’ Donuts spot. This bit might nod to the Brooklyn actor and corporate mascot with the “Time to make the donuts” line who once studied acting under Erwin Piscator. Or not, since Pacino is from the Bronx and studied under Lee Strasberg. Sandler standby Dennis Dugan directs a screenplay by Steve Koren and Sandler that is based on a story by Ben Zook, originally from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre. Annoy is about all “Jack and Jill” does. With Katie Holmes, Eugenio Derbez, Tim Meadows, Valerie Mahaffey, Geoff Pierson and countless as-selves cameos. 93m. (Bill Stamets)
“Jack And Jill” is now playing.