Is Jack and Jill a Family Movie?

My husband and I like Adam Sandler. When I saw the previews for his new movie Jack and Jill (in theaters now), I was glad to see that it was rated PG. Family interests aside, I find that many PG-13 movies push the limit of what I most enjoy watching in levels of crude humor and sexuality, so I was intrigued by the PG rating, and wondered if it would push the limit as well.

The typical “man in drag” storyline generally gets a lot of laughs, especially from boys. Sandler plays himself, Jack, and also his twin sister Jill in this movie. As might be expected, there is lots of physical comedy — which includes falls, Jill using her “manly” strength, people getting hit in the head, and bodily function-related humor. I think that makes this movie the kind of thing that older elementary kids and certainly middle schoolers are going to enjoy.

But don’t think that it’s all base juvenile humor. This movie touches on some wonderful themes. When Jill visits each Thanksgiving, Jack simply tolerates her. He thinks she’s annoying and embarrassing, but Jack’s kids love her. We see their fierce love of their aunt and the way a child can focus on what is inside a person, not only appearances. Jack’s feelings towards her change as he comes around to their way of thinking, and wants to make sure she knows that he does really love her.

In addition to Adam Sandler, the movie features Katie Holmes as his wife, and Al Pacino as himself. Watch for cameos from Dana Carvey, Shaq, David Spade, and others.

For those of you with kids who range in age, like me — with a 13-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son — you probably end up compromising more about what the younger child watches (and like me, you probably also often hear “I never got to watch that when I was younger!”). I don’t think that this movie is most appropriate for younger elementary ages, but I also don’t think that there are things that I’d regret him seeing.

I wasn’t taking copious notes, but there were two mild swears (hell), and one comment that was inappropriate (but most kids wouldn’t notice): “I can smell horny across the ocean” (seriously — this is not in context with the rest of the movie at all, and we could have done without it, or perhaps said “love” or “attraction” or something, right??).

So — is it a family movie? That’s your call. It depends on who is in your family. My husband and I saw it, and though there were lots of cheap laughs, we did laugh a lot, as did those who were in the packed theater.

**I attended a free advance screening of this film, but was not required to write about it or told what to say. As always, these are my own opinions.

Jennifer Donovan loves a good story. She manages 5 Minutes for Books and blogs about life with her family at Snapshot.


  1. says

    I wish parents had to compromise on this sort of thing less often. As a child, I remember being absolutely fascinated with Toy Story, and later other Pixar films. I was surprised to find that, as an adult, Pixar movies still held their shine. Other movies from my childhood did not fare so well.

    This leads me to believe that rich characters and involving story are priceless when it comes to family movies, because tiny kids adults and everyone in between will enjoy that sort of movie.

    • says

      Since out-there humor is what they usually like, it usually ends up being PG-13 movies that deliver that (and more!!). I think that this is probably a pretty good compromise.

  2. says

    Thanks for your review! We took our kids (13, 11, & 8) to see Jack & Jill this weekend. While it wasn’t a warm-and-fuzzy-truly-feel-good movie, I agree there were cheap laughs. The boys enjoyed the crass bathroom humor, while our daughter (the youngest) loved the scenes where the little girl dressed like her doll. My husband and I found it refreshing just to have a PG movie to attend that wasn’t animated. We rarely take the family to a movie at the theaters; however, we enjoyed the treat of Jack & Jill and spending time with our kids. I agree there there a couple of questionable lines, though all-in-all, I would bill this as a family movie for those with kids that are tweens or close to it.


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