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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Jack and Jill

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

The sad arithmetic of the latest Adam Sandler offering "Jack and Jill" (Columbia) is that a double serving of its star—one in drag—adds up, in the end, to a half-witted comedy. Too crude for kids and too puerile for their elders, moreover, director Dennis Dugan's grab bag of potty humor, harsh slapstick and pop-culture gags commands an appropriate audience of just about zero.

Sandler plays both titular characters—the former a successful Los Angeles advertising executive, the latter his well-meaning but irksome, Bronx-based twin sister. When Jill comes to town for her annual Thanksgiving visit, she warms the hearts of Jack's dutiful wife Erin (Katie Holmes) and their duo of young'uns, son Gary (Rohan Chand) and daughter Sofia (Elodie Tougne).

But the ad man himself can hardly wait for Jill to leave again. Until, that is, she artlessly manages to win the heart of Al Pacino (playing himself), whom Jack has been trying to convince to appear in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial.

As the unlikely second half of that sentence suggests, Pacino gamely makes fun of his own persona throughout. And there are numerous other celebrity sightings; in one, Johnny Depp shows up beside Pacino at a Lakers game, sporting a Justin Bieber T-shirt.

So much for the high end of the comic spectrum. The nadir of the other extremity is reached when Jill samples Mexican food for the first time, with grimly predictably—and raucous—results. It seems that Jack and Erin's Latino gardener, Felipe (Eugenio Derbez), who's also smitten with Jill, has taken her to a family picnic. So we're treated to some ethnic frolicking before the bathroom bombardment commences.

Incidentally (for so it's treated), as the sight of a lighted menorah in their window indicates, Jack and his close-knit clan are sufficiently observant Jews to mark Hanukkah. It's mentioned in passing that Erin is a convert to Judaism, though from what—if anything—is never specified.

This being Hollywood, one can be grateful for any respectful reference to scriptural faith, however fleeting. As for the rest, it's not worth breaking your crown.

The film contains much violent slapstick and gross scatological humor, brief implied nudity, some sexual jokes and adult references and at least one crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Cyril and Methodius: Because their father was an officer in a part of Greece inhabited by many Slavs, these two Greek brothers ultimately became missionaries, teachers and patrons of the Slavic peoples. 
<p>After a brilliant course of studies, Cyril (called Constantine until he became a monk shortly before his death) refused the governorship of a district such as his brother had accepted among the Slavic-speaking population. Cyril withdrew to a monastery where his brother Methodius had become a monk after some years in a governmental post. </p><p>A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task. </p><p>Cyril’s first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet (for example, modern Russian) from Greek capital letters. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then. </p><p>That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate Slavic bishops and priests, and Cyril was forced to appeal to Rome. On the visit to Rome, he and Methodius had the joy of seeing their new liturgy approved by Pope Adrian II. Cyril, long an invalid, died in Rome 50 days after taking the monastic habit. </p><p>Methodius continued mission work for 16 more years. He was papal legate for all the Slavic peoples, consecrated a bishop and then given an ancient see (now in the Czech Republic). When much of their former territory was removed from their jurisdiction, the Bavarian bishops retaliated with a violent storm of accusation against Methodius. As a result, Emperor Louis the German exiled Methodius for three years. Pope John VIII secured his release. </p><p>Because the Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, Methodius had to go to Rome to defend himself against charges of heresy and uphold his use of the Slavonic liturgy. He was again vindicated. </p><p>Legend has it that in a feverish period of activity, Methodius translated the whole Bible into Slavonic in eight months. He died on Tuesday of Holy Week, surrounded by his disciples, in his cathedral church. </p><p>Opposition continued after his death, and the work of the brothers in Moravia was brought to an end and their disciples scattered. But the expulsions had the beneficial effect of spreading the spiritual, liturgical and cultural work of the brothers to Bulgaria, Bohemia and southern Poland. Patrons of Moravia, and specially venerated by Catholic Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Orthodox Serbians and Bulgarians, Cyril and Methodius are eminently fitted to guard the long-desired unity of East and West. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named them additional co-patrons of Europe (with Benedict).</p> American Catholic Blog This is the beauty of self-giving love: Men and women, driven by love, freely choose to give up their autonomy, to limit their freedom, by committing themselves to the good of the spouse. Love is so powerful that it impels them to want to surrender their will to their beloved in this profound way.

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