It's time for Armond White to explain why everyone is wrong about Jack And Jill
Adam Sandler’s Jack And Jill—a movie about Adam Sandler farting and then putting a wig on his fart, and then his bewigged fart farts—is currently enjoying a 4-percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critical consensus seeming to be “Stab yourself repeatedly in the face.” And as it ever was and ever shall be, that’s Armond White’s cue to explain why everyone has missed the point yet again, offering an Armond White review so archetypal, we’d be willing to bet that it’s a template filled in only a few weeks after White first glimpsed the poster.
Beginning by comparing his colleagues’ reaction to Sandler’s “hilarious new film Jack And Jill” to the way “Ernst Lubitsch’s classic 1946 female plumber comedy Cluny Brown ‘upset people who didn’t like to admit they have plumbing,’” White argues that critics have balked at Jack And Jill because of its unflinching emotional honesty about sibling rivalry and “the depths of kinship”—“without that acrid love of dysfunction now so popular on TV and Broadway”—while praising Sandler for his “comic introspection” into the human soul. Those who can’t appreciate it clearly have trouble with expressions of affection that aren’t safely couched in “the class and gender guilt Judd Apatow hides behind.”
But what about all the stupid voices and fart jokes? Well obviously, that “willingness to be dumb,” White explains, is actually what gives all of his best films (“Grown Ups, Bedtime Stories, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry and the great Spanglish”) their “catharsis,” thanks to Sandler’s total lack of embarrassment—which is, as White reminds us, “the key to classic comedy going back to the Greeks.” This liberating lack of inhibition especially extends to Sandler in drag, a performance that White lauds as a “subtle feminine caricature—especially in dancing and athleticism.” Indeed, how come no one in the critical hive mind ever mentions the athleticism? Too busy being repressed?
And what’s more, have you ever considered that Jack And Jill—and all of Sandler’s comedies, really—are, at their root, about the Jewish experience? No you have not, because you are shallow. Only Armond White recognizes that the Jill character is a bold confrontation of Jewish stereotypes, that the film is “rooted in Jewish comics’ proverbial self-deprecation,” and that “Sandler’s real dare is to defend ethnicity—not piously but through comedy that has social and political effect.” So there you have it: People who don’t like Jack And Jill probably have problems with their families and the Jews. Recalibrate!