FILM REVIEW: Jack and Jill (PG)

In the popular 18th century nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill went up a hill and took a tumble as they fetched a pail of water.

Following their lead, Oscar winner Al Pacino falls horribly from grace playing an exaggerated version of himself in Dennis Dugan’s grotesque comedy that casts Adam Sandler as a Los Angeles advertising guru and his crass twin sister.

Two Sandlers for the price of one means twice the mean-spirited barbs, twice the toilet humour and twice the grating on-screen laughter at an offensive selection of ethnic stereotypes and sexist sneers.

With sharper writing, Jack And Jill might have been a sweetly entertaining tale of estranged siblings reuniting in middle age.

Alas, that isn’t Sandler’s shtick - he plumbs the murky depths of human behaviour, revelling in the uncomfortable moments when characters are reduced to their base instincts.

It’s mind boggling that an actor of Pacino’s stature would align himself with such a vulgar farrago but to give the 61-year-old credit, he brings more intensity to his part than the rest of the cast combined.

The script manages one honest laugh when it highlights the veteran actor’s shocking luck at the Oscars by having Jill accidentally shatter his one golden statuette.

“I’m sure you have others,” she smiles apologetically.

“You’d think it but oddly enough, I don’t,” replies Pacino.

Jack And Jill should end his losing streak, snagging a Razzie, the annual awards to dishonour the worst achievements on the big screen.

Ad man Jack Sadelstein (Sandler) lives with wife Erin (Katie Holmes), their daughter Sofia (Elodie Tougne) and adopted son Gary (Rohan Chand).

Every Thanksgiving, Jack braces himself for the arrival of twin sister Jill (Sandler again), who has a complete lack of social graces.

The ad executive can’t wait to be rid of her until his sibling becomes useful.

Jack hopes to persuade Al Pacino to star in a commercial for a new type of coffee from a well-known chain of doughnut shops.

The Oscar winner develops a crush on Jill so Jack surmises that he can use her “like some kind of prosti-twin”.

Unfortunately for Jack, Jill has deep feelings for the Sadelsteins’ Mexican gardener, Felipe (Eugenio Derbez).

Jack And Jill has little to recommend it besides Pacino’s insane commitment to such poor material.

It’s a toss up which incarnation of Sandler is more irritating, Holmes is vacuous eye candy and the film’s ugly humour is dredged from the sewers of bad taste and political incorrectness.

When Pacino watches the finished coffee commercial, he turns to Jack with obvious shame and growls, “Burn this. This must never be seen, by anyone!”

That may be a little harsh for Jack And Jill, but certainly the fewer people who endure Dugan’s film, the better.

By Damon Smith

:: NO SWEARING :: NO SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 3/10

Released: February 3 (UK & Ireland), 90 mins