Jack Goes Boating might be worth checking out for the performances and while Hoffman’s direction isn’t too bad, the story had much to be desired and probably could’ve used another rewrite (with a new writer). If you’re a fan of Hoffman’s work then maybe it’d be worth a rental otherwise I think you can skip this character drama.
Jack Goes Boating (2010)
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Anchor Bay | R – 91 min. – $39.99 | January 18, 2011
Directed by: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Writer(s): Bob Glaudini (stage play); Bob Glaudini (screenplay)
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega
Theatrical Release Date: September 23, 2010
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 3/5
Plot: Jack (HOFFMAN) and Connie (RYAN) are two single people who — on their own — might fade into the anonymous background of New York City, but in each other begin to find the courage and desire to pursue a budding relationship.
As Jack and Connie cautiously circle commitment, the couple that introduced them, Clyde (ORTIZ) and Lucy (RUBIN-VEGA) come face to face with uncertainties in their own commitment.
I’ve never been one to drool over anything that was released at the local art house theater and it seems that you go in expecting certain shots or a certain type of tone and rarely do they surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Jack Goes Boating, a film that had a limited release and marked veteran actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut. Like so many others, I’m a huge fan of Hoffman. He’s proven that he can do the heavy-handed drama (Doubt), quirky indie comedy (Punch-Drunk Love), mainstream thriller (Red Dragon) or a major summer blockbuster action film (Mission Impossible III), the man doesn’t confine himself to one genre or group of film-goers.
So with that said and for all the respect I have for Hoffman, after the film was over I honestly didn’t come away feeling anything about any of it, and primarily for the main characters of Jack and Connie. It’s through no fault of Philip Seymour Hoffman nor Amy Ryan who both bravely put forth two solid performances showing believable on-screen chemistry together. In fact, I thought the two supporting actors – John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega – also delivered good performances. Unfortunately, none of them were good enough to overcome one key issue I had with the film…
My biggest problem with Jack Goes Boating isn’t the fact this is Hoffman’s directorial debut in which I will say that while it’s nothing noteworthy or visually interesting for that matter but it’s with the script. The movie is based upon a play of the same name and was adapted by the play’s creator, Bob Glaudini who, from my search on IMDb, makes his first foray at screenwriting; although I’m sure Hoffman has his fingerprints on the script as well. Back to my issue with the film, I just didn’t have much sympathy (or displeasure for that matter) for the two main characters as they seemed to be fairly bland.
This puts the film in a precarious position as far as dramas go. While the performances were well intentioned and in parts pretty good, the movie as a whole is quite frankly forgettable and a movie that’s forgettable is, at least in my book, worse than some of the worst movies ever made.
In the end, Jack Goes Boating might be worth checking out for the performances and while Hoffman’s direction isn’t too bad, the story had much to be desired.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.75/5
Not unexpected but disappointing that there’s not a whole lot here (would’ve really loved to hear from Hoffman do a commentary). First up are two featurettes in Jack’s New York (3:51; HD) and From the Stage to the Big Screen (4:35; HD), two short Deleted Scenes (1:52; HD) and the theatrical trailer (2:22; HD).
There are also trailers for the Robert De Niro/Edward Norton drama Stone (2:33) and Matt Reeves’ Let Me In (2:22).
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Jack Goes Boating is presented in its original theatrical 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Not too surprising but given the low budget nature for this film, it’s not a brilliant looking picture but good enough and no doubt better than the DVD version. Colors look subdued but I assume that was the director’s choice but detail level was pretty good, though.
AUDIO – 4/5
The disc features a nice TrueHD 5.1 that actually gets a little robust during one scene in which music starts playing and there’s a good thump that reverberates throughout the room. Outside of that one scene, for the most part it’s a nice audio track with clear dialogue.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Jack Goes Boating might be worth checking out for the performances and while Hoffman’s direction isn’t too bad, the story had much to be desired and probably could’ve used another rewrite (with a new writer). The Blu-ray itself has a passable video transfer and a good audio mix yet lacks substance with the features. If you’re a fan of Hoffman’s work then maybe it’d be worth a rental otherwise I think you can skip this character drama.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman