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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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