The funniest thing about the trailer for Jack and Jill, a real movie that opens in theaters this weekend, is how fake it all seems. The mind-bogglingly absurd image of Adam Sandler playing both himself and his boorish, Noo Yawk twin sister Jill looked like it could have been one of the movies his Funny People character willingly sold out to make a quick buck for. Actually, it felt more like something out of a South Park episode in which they’d parody the mind-boggling absurdity of most Sandler flicks. (“Adam Sandler is his own twin sister… and Rob Schneider is a stapler!”) I take that back, the funniest thing about the Jack and Jill trailer is that it produced this. Brilliant.
Still, no one, especially not critics, seem to be laughing at Sandler’s latest pass at, er, comedy. (EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the film a D+, helping the film earn its 2 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, at least its no Bucky Larson, right? Right?!) Will anyone other than masochists and the most hardcore Sandler devotees see this?
Then again, are there any real Sandler supporters left?
There are those who grew up laughing at the childish, dumb-guy schtick that made Sandler a big star. We all watched him churn out genuinely funny bits like Canteen Boy and the legitimate holiday classic “The Hanukkah Song” on Saturday Night Live and prove his box office prowess in the likes of Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer. But are those fans still backing Sandler? Are they still giving him the benefit of the doubt because of re-watchable cable comedies like Big Daddy or even surprisingly decent dramas like Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, and Reign Over Me? Or was any shred of goodwill left destroyed when he made like Little Nicky… and Eight Crazy Nights… and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry… and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan… and Just Go With It?
If the box office receipts are any indication, yes, people are still very much willing to fork over their money to Sandler, no matter how critically panned his movies may be. (In 1998, his comedy The Waterboy earned $161.5 million, nearly the same exact amount that Grown Ups brought in last year.) Abysmal reviews aside (and, oh, there are plenty) EW predicts that the PG-rated flick could rake in close to $22 million this weekend.
So what is it about Sandler that keeps people coming back? Is it that moviegoers know exactly what they’re getting out of him, no matter how terrible it may be? Or have most of Sandler’s older fans jumped ship long ago and been replaced by a brand new legion of teenage boys, his prime demographic for fart jokes? Will Jack and Jill, his worst-rated movie to date, be the last straw, or will people keep coming back for more? (I mean who knows what he’ll be next time?! “Adam Sandler is… a time-traveling chimp… and he’s your new babysitter”!) Share in the comments section below.