Review: ‘Jack and Jill vs. the World’

Angela Lansbury, Biff Liff, Peter Franklin,

In "Jack and Jill vs. the World," Freddie Prinze Jr.'s straight-laced ad man Jack wears black and white even on dates, while unpredictable out-of-towner Jill (Taryn Manning) accessorizes in pink.

In “Jack and Jill vs. the World,” Freddie Prinze Jr.’s straight-laced ad man Jack wears black and white even on dates, while unpredictable out-of-towner Jill (Taryn Manning) accessorizes in pink. Can two such fundamentally different souls find love in the big city? Opposites not only attract but also draft a manifesto for modern living in the sort of earnest date movie that suggests Jill-of-all-trades Vanessa Parise (who produces, writes and directs while saving the sassiest part for herself) looks to Cameron Crowe as the paragon of profundity. Idealistic indie faces an uphill battle in theaters, where Parise is self-distributing.

Narrated by sage Robert Forster, pic is almost quaint in its late-20s anxiety, featuring characters far too young for such cynicism. The couple pledges to always be honest, but Jill guards a key secret: She suffers from cystic fibrosis (a cough, so innocuous in real life, can only mean one thing onscreen). Parise no doubt intends the pic’s attention to the disease — plus animal adoption and fair trade coffee — to be socially enlightening, but it feels suspiciously like sympathy-mongering. Without the condition, Jill’s most interesting feature is her unfortunate choice in lipstick.

Jack and Jill vs. the World

Production

A Lantern Lane release of an Empera Pictures and Myriad Pictures presentation of a Darius Films production in association with Magnet Pictures, Lucky Dog Film Group, One for the Soul, Hudson River Entertainment, Pharaon Film and Television, 120dB Films, Myriad Pictures. Produced by Vanessa Parise. Executive producers, Scott J. Sloan, Michael Jaffe, Stephen Hays, Peter Graham, Freddie Prinze Jr., Michael Z. Gordon, Jordan Gertner, Nicholas Tabarrok. Co-producers, Robin Dunne, Mitch Solomon, Karen Shaw. Directed by Vanessa Parise. Screenplay, Peter Stebbings, Parise, based on a story by Stebbings.

Crew

Camera (color), Manfred Guthe; editors, Matthew Booth, David Ostry, Gareth C. Scales; music, Jeremy Parise; music supervisor, John Rowley; production designer, Peter Cosco; costume designer, Maxyne Baker. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, April 14, 2008. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Freddie Prinze Jr., Taryn Manning, Robin Dunne, Robert Forster, Hannah Lochner, Vanessa Parise, Kelly Rowan, Peter Stebbings.

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