JACK GOES BOATING
Slow, Depressing Character Study
Release Date: September 23, 2010
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John
Ortiz, Amy Ryan, Daphne
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Overture Films/Starz LLC
Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Executive Producer: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Producer: Beth O’Neil, Peter Saraf,
Marc Turtletaub, Emily Ziff
Writer: Robert Glaudini
Address Comments To:Robert Clasen, Chairman/CEO
Starz LLC (Overture Films, Starz Entertainment, Anchor Bay Entertainment)
8900 Liberty Circle
Englewood, CO 80112
Phone: (720) 852-7700; Fax: (720) 852-8555
Jack is a lonely guy, a simple limo driver. He is quiet, reserved and shy. Although he has dreams of becoming a driver for the New York City MTA, he has no impetus to reach for those dreams. His best friends, indeed his only friends, are Clyde and Lucy, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks, because both hold grudges against the other’s infidelity.
One day, Lucy sets Jack up on a blind date with Connie, a woman who is just as shy and afraid of the world as Jack is. Even though it is the middle of winter, Connie tells Jack she has dreams of going boating. Jack tells her he will take her boating when summer comes. There is just one problem: Jack does not swim.
Clyde decides to teach Jack how to swim. Over the course of the next several months, Jack learns to take a plunge in both life and love. As the months unfold, Jack learns to overcome his fears. He and Connie start to fall in love just as Clyde and Lucy’s marriage starts to fall apart. All of the drama comes to a head one night in Clyde and Lucy’s apartment as the four friends drink, smoke and take drugs such as pot and cocaine.
JACK GOES BOATING, which is also Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, is a superbly acted movie by all four actors. The movie definitely feels like a character-driven, stage play rather than a feature film, yet Hoffman aptly catches the pace of the story. However, the story itself lacks several strategic plot points, such as the reasons behind Jack transforming his life. It is incredulous to believe that a blind date with a woman who is just as broken and scared as Jack is the catalyst for him to take charge of his life.
The movie also has excessively offensive content. It contains a strong Romantic worldview that focuses on love as the highest human emotion and man’s inherent goodness, even though the characters are broken and immoral. There is also strong graphic sexual dialogue including discussions of Clyde and Lucy discussing their extramarital affairs, excessive foul language and a lot of illegal drug use, including depicted cocaine use.
All in all, the movie is excessive. Media-wise viewers can choose many other, more moral options.
JACK GOES BOATING is superbly acted. The movie feels like a character-driven stage play rather than a feature film, yet Hoffman aptly catches the pace of the story. However, the story itself lacks several strategic plot points, such as the reasons behind Jack turning his life around. It also contains excessively offensive content, extreme drug use, crude dialogue, and other graphic content.