Friday, January 24, 2014

Jack and Jill vs. the World (2008) [PG-13] **

Jack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a creative writer at a small advertising agency in New York City. He doesn't really understand how relationships work, and he thinks he's happy being a bachelor, especially when his work partner George (Peter Stebbings) and George's wife invite him out on double dates with attractive women whose biological alarm clocks are buzzing.

Then one day Jack meets Jill (Taryn Manning) at a video shoot for a beer commercial. Driving her to her apartment later, Jack sees what a dangerous neighborhood Jill lives in, and on the spur of the moment he invites her to stay with him for a few days. While Jack lives a structured life in a minimalist, impersonal apartment, Jill is a carefree, creative, go-with-the-flow girl, with a refreshing zest for life. In no time at all she is filling up Jack's space with her casual, colorful clutter. And after they begin sleeping together, Jack finds himself bonding with her emotionally. They even write a manifesto for life together, a set of rules to live by.

But one night Jill doesn't come home and Jack expresses his concern. It's only when it happens a second time that Jill finally explains that she has cystic fibrosis, and spent the night in the hospital, after which Jack accuses her of violating their first rule... to be honest with one another.

This is yet another version of the classic story: uptight boy meets carefree girl, boy acts stupid and loses girl, boy gets girl back. It's a romance with more drama than comedy, and feels like a forgettable episode of Dharma & Greg. Co-written and directed by Vanessa Parise, who also has a supporting role as Lucy, the offbeat, unpredictable manager of the animal shelter where Jill works, this is a low-budget, independent production. The screenplay is unimaginative and derivative with absolutely no memorable dialog. Directing and editing are lackluster, production values are minimal and the soundtrack is non-existent. There's no chemistry between the two leads; Taryn Manning's energy and enthusiasm cannot compensate for Freddie Prinze Jr.'s flat, emotionless performance. Only fans of Prinze Jr., Manning and Parise need bother with this one. My Sassy Girl is a far better riff on the same theme. 

Labels: comedy, drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 37/100 (3 reviews)    
Tomatometer (critics=25, viewers=35)

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