|“Wow, I actually FEEL like I’m worth less as a human being when I’m dressed like this! It’s working!”|
The reviews are in, and it seems that despite its No. 2 spot at the box-office this past weekend, Adam Sandler’s drag comedy Jack & Jill tanked with critics. I haven’t seen the film myself, nor do I plan to spend two precious hours of this life trying to force a laugh over jokes so bland and overused they hurt my jaw like old gum… so I may just be making assumptions. But based on what I’ve seen in reviews so far, Adam Sandler, who once made me laugh till I cried with Opera Man and “Lunch Lady Land,” has fallen pretty far for this trite take on a man-in-lady-clothes-ha-ha-ha. So I feel pretty much ok with saying the following:
The reason to despise Jack & Jill, and other movies like it, isn’t necessarily because it’s just a trite and all-around bad movie, although those reasons aren’t oh so terrible. The reason isn’t even because trans people and cross dressers and those of us who don’t find the men-in-plaid and women-in-skirts stereotypes very interesting are sick of seeing the same tired stereotypes trotted out to be reinforced by mocking people who break them–although that’s also a very good reason, in my book, to cast shame on Sandler and everyone else involved in this film. But so many other films have done these things that one can hardly cast stones at just the aging SNL star for taking part in it without taking up a whole lot more rocks. No, the reason this movie pisses me, and I hope you as well, off so much is that from the first teaser poster I saw for it in the subway months ago, it has relied heavily on the idea that a woman who isn’t classically beautiful–aka Sandler in drag as “Jill”–is funny because she’s so ugly. The poster, which bore the faces of both “Jack” (a predictably flummoxed-looking Sandler as a dude who’s not all that attractive but who still gets his own feature film) and “Jill” (Sandler in drag as a girl who’s not all that attractive and is thus obviously the butt of many jokes), with the legend, “His twin sister is coming for the holidays… and it ain’t pretty.”
BAM. Right there. Guess what, holiday movie-goers? In case every advertisement you’ve ever seen for every other product in existence hadn’t already driven this point home, along with every facet of modern entertainment and pretty much the rest of the world, if you aren’t stunningly gorgeous and you’re female: you’re a joke. A punchline. You’re pretty much worthless unless you go into comedy to make fun of yourself.
Uck. I’m sure that in this movie, Jill bears the brunt of her large jaw, broad shoulders, large nose, and what I’m sure is a very unpleasant, squeaky, nasal voice, but in the end redeems all of woman-kind by proving to Jack just how wonderful a person she is and how he’s a jerk for judging her on her looks instead of her winning personality, or something yawn-inducing along the same vein pumping ever-more sluggish blood along a bored and boring circulatory system of overused comedy. I’m sure that the creative team behind Jack & Jill really thought on some level that they were being kind to ugly girls everywhere by redeeming their character in the end somehow. But they’re not being kind, they’re just being just nasty and small-minded about people’s real experiences in life. They’re taking advantage of half the population, which is already so terrified of not being sexually attractive that it injects faces with weird hormones and chemicals, forces feet into uncomfortable shoes, debases itself if it thinks guys are watching, and feeds its own kind on jealousy and in-fighting instead of support and caring. Do we need more of this? No, no we don’t.
People, stay out of the theaters for this one. I can guarantee none of the jokes will be original enough to be worth your overpriced ticket, and there are other options that treat women with some dignity. Not very many, sadly, but they’re out there.