Sandler's 'Jack and Jill' runs up funny hill

Adam Sandler (as "Jill") and Katie Holmes in "Jack and Jill."


Most amazing thing about "Jack and Jill," the delicious new Adam Sandler comedy, is not that he plays the dual role of twins. Nor is it that a great actor named "Al Pacino" falls in love with Jill. It's the casting of the Al Pacino character. Lots of people (like the Brits Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) do terrific Al Pacino impersonations. But Mr. Sandler has bypassed them and, instead, hired -- Al Pacino.
In the yarn at hand, LA ad executive Jack Sadelstein is desperate to land the big Dunkin Donuts commercial, kicking off its bold new product-challenge to cappuccino: Dunkaccino. But Jack is equally desperate -- and much distracted -- by a need to survive his dreaded annual torture: the four-day Thanksgiving visit of twin sister Jill.
How needy and passive-aggressive is Jill? She makes Blanche DuBois look like Lady Gaga. She can't get a date (let alone a husband), and she keeps extending her stay with Jack, first through Hanukkah, then New Year's, now maybe Halloween.
Meanwhile, back at the commercial ranch, who better to promote DD's Dunkaccino than Al Pacino? DD insists on him, but he's fully booked these days playing Shakespearean stage roles and having a post-midlife nervous breakdown. (What the great actor really wants to do is sing "The Impossible Dream" in "Man of la Mancha.")
How can Jack get him for the Dunkin commercial? Taking sister Jill to a Lakers game provides the accidental answer. Pacino happens to be there (with Johnny Depp), spots Jill in the crowd, and sends over a complimentary foot-long hot dog with the words "Call Me" written in mustard and his phone number in ketchup.
OK, I won't give away any more gags -- except to mention a running one, with Jill's beloved pet cockatoo Poopsie. Suffice to say, her maddening habits upset Jack's tranquil life, his tranquil wife Katie Holmes, and his not-so-tranquil son (the wonderful Rohan Chand) -- whose unique obsessive-compulsive disorder involves taping things to himself, including a live hamster.
For male comedians, the 11th commandment -- one of the missing ones on that tablet Moses dropped in "History of the World" -- is: "Thou shalt not pass up the opportunity to do drag." They all feel compelled to do so at some point, from Milton Berle through Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Dustin Hoffman and Eddie Murphy, et al. too numerous to list. Mr. Sandler makes for a humorously grotesque woman, indeed -- but not as grotesque as his old friend David Spade. See if you can find the Spademeister in a certain bar scene in "Jack and Jill."
For that matter, see how many other pop-culture Sandler pals you can find in cameos here: Dana Carvey, Regis Philbin, Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Carey, John McEnroe, Christie Brinkley, Michael Irvin, Bruce Jenner and the Subway sandwich guy -- for starters.
This is director Dennis Dugan's eighth effort with Mr. Sandler, and perhaps their best. The effort, as always, includes their trademark gross-out flatulence scenes, Jewish jokes (Jill thinks "Skype" is something anti-Semitic), shameless product branding, and obligatory syrupy PG ending.
But it also includes Al Pacino taking a cell-phone call in the middle of a "Richard III" performance, and momentarily confusing himself with Brando. Plus some great clips of real-life twins, adorning the opening and closing credits.
All in good, clean, goofy fun.
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