Jack Goes Boating (2010)
67% of critics liked it
47% of users liked it
Adapted from Bob Glaudini's play of the same name, Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, tells the simple tale of Jack (Hoffman), a shy, fortyish limo driver with a fondness for pot and reggae music -- he likes it because it sounds happy -- who meets Connie (Amy… More Adapted from Bob Glaudini's play of the same name, Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, tells the simple tale of Jack (Hoffman), a shy, fortyish limo driver with a fondness for pot and reggae music -- he likes it because it sounds happy -- who meets Connie (Amy Ryan) for a blind date set up by Connie's co-worker Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), who is married to Jack's best friend and fellow limo driver, Clyde (John Ortiz). As the young couple tentatively come together, breaking through layers and layers of awkwardness and low self-esteem, Clyde and Lucy's marriage begins to dissolve because of Clyde's inability to get over an incident from their past. All the while, Clyde gives Jack swimming lessons so that he can take Connie on her dream date -- a boating trip on the lake. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi
Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine
Philip Seymour Hoffman puts his oar in with a tender, thoughtful adaption of Robert Glaudini's stage play. A little too measured to deliver an emotional punch, it's nevertheless beautifully acted and at times rather lovely.
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7.0/10 Why is Philip Seymour Hoffman always in such depressing movies? His 2007 drama "The Savages" was enough to piss some depression-haters off, while his 2009 animated gem "Mary and Max" wasn't exactly a "happy" film either. "Jack… More
7.0/10 Why is Philip Seymour Hoffman always in such depressing movies? His 2007 drama "The Savages" was enough to piss some depression-haters off, while his 2009 animated gem "Mary and Max" wasn't exactly a "happy" film either. "Jack Goes Boating" is a typically Hoffman film; depressing but deep. The only catch is that Hoffman directed the film, making it his directorial debut. Hoffman doesn't really deliver anything new with this film; although he manages to make "old" material work. This is a heartfelt drama through-and-through, and I admire Hoffman's craft. However, it's a very depressing and slow-moving film; well, to most people at least. You almost have to give Hoffman credit for wanting to create something that has about as much appeal as moldy cheese; and I HATE moldy cheese. So you should know what I mean when I say that. Nevertheless, it's still good filmmaking, and it's still entertaining to watch. You know what; it's actually pretty damn good. There's good acting to be found, good screen-writing, and there are several moments of fascination which would have made this film memorable if they had been either prolonged or more consistent. But the film is at its best when it forces you to think about the characters and the story; thus it actually feels as smart as it wants to be. I don't know if it's right to encourage Hoffman to make yet another film, since I think he's a better actor than he is a director, but it's good to see that his first directorial film actually works. None the less, if he does direct another film, then I will see it. This movie, on its own, was actually fairly satisfying. I won't say it's memorable, but I won't say it's forgettable either. There's little harm done in watching this film, so you shouldn't be ashamed when you quite possibly decide to ponder it. Knowing the kind of guy Hoffman was, I decided to expect quite a few things out of the film. And Hoffman delivers the kind of emotionally intense genius that he's so good at portraying and by all means, creating. This film is a sleeper hit for sure, and I don't think many will see it even if they know it is existent. But it's always interesting to see a good actor make a good film, and I always suspected that Hoffman was up to the challenge. No matter how good or bad you think it is, "Jack Goes Boating" serves as a damn good character study. Luckily, that's good enough for me; given the amount of wit, emotion, and substance present in this film. It can only be properly described by one word: different. Jack is a lonely Limo-driver who hasn't found love in life. He's set up on a blind date one night and develops an affection for the woman that he meets. What follows is essentially this one, big emotional quest; which involves Jack trying to find his inner ambitions. Most of the experience is tender but forgettable, aside from a couple great moments. Such great moments include Jack visualizing himself swimming, as well as a big emotional fight somewhere near the end. The film works because it builds its characters well, and early enough in the film that I would count them as believable. Jack is just the kind of emotional guy that Philip Seymour Hoffman was born to play; an emotional being nigh devoid of emotion. Jack isn't meant to be liked; his experiences are meant to be felt. As is this film, which is definitely good, well-written, and all around pretty darn satisfying. Hoffman's adaptation of the play of the same name, which he also starred in (originally) is quirky and heartfelt; honest and bold. There's some sort of artsy charm to it; and even though it was sort of depressing, it was also quite uplifting at moments. Such emotional pain may not be easy to watch, and "Jack Goes Boating" almost becomes "emotionally disturbing" near the end. None the less, it's not a particularly tough sit-through; it's just not for everyone. But I've seen too many bad/mediocre films to count this one as bad, since it was actually pretty engaging for what it was. I also find it hilarious that a guy like Philip Seymour Hoffman can for the first time in his life make his own movie (for real, this time) and inhabit it with just about every aspect of his persona. I admire his directorial style; and it kind of makes me want to see more. I'm just hoping that Hoffman doesn't get carried away. Just about any performance (or cameo) from Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good one. Hoffman is used to playing depressed, and perhaps even overly sentimental characters. Even if they have mixed emotions half of the time, I still like watching the character that Hoffman portrays. Jack is not his best character, nor is "Jack Goes Boating" his best film. However, it's good to see that the stress of operating the show from both ends of the camera didn't get to Hoffman; not completely. Some won't warm up to Hoffman's Jack character as much as I did, but if you want my personal take, then I shall do little more or less than indulge. Hoffman isn't an emotional rollercoaster of a human being in this film, but there were moments in the film where we learned just how emotionally unstable his character is. One such scene is the dinner-gone-wrong, in which Jack gets high and forgets the check the food he had been cooking for his other guests. This scene was sad; completely devoid of happiness or laughter. It exists to make you feel the emotional pain that a guy like Jack goes through, and that's what I loved about it. Amy Ryan and John Ortiz are also very entertaining to watch as just two of the major amigos of our buddy Jack, and they're admittedly more likable than the title character ever will be. But Hoffman runs this film more than they do; and if you don't like it, then you don't like it. There's no use in complaining. Some people find this film pretentious and boring. I find it intelligent and well-made. Hoffman's directorial style isn't as madly seductive as I expected it would be, but then again he's no "genius", so to speak. But Hoffman displays more talent than most directors; taking familiar material and an un-original premise and transforming it all into one, big emotional piece of genuine awesomeness. OK, maybe it wasn't that awesome. But it was pretty damn entertaining none the less. I won't say it's a film that you'll like watching, but there's definitely entertainment to be found in Hoffman's little artistic touches. There were these little moments where Hoffman's direction felt visionary; masterful. But these were only moments, and shortly afterward, Hoffman's film would stop being great and go back to being good. But good is good enough; and Hoffman's film is indeed the kind of "good" that I can easily warm up to. I admit that it's depressing and hard to relate to in some instances, but it's never unwatchable and certainly not as flat-out generic as some seem to think it is. I think some people need to look at the film from Hoffman's point of view. I do believe that it's very possible for someone to like this film; but I don't expect most to. "Jack Goes Boating" is a film to be admired, but only be a select group of people. I don't suppose it's anything to remember or "go down in cinematic history", but it's Hoffman's directorial debut, and I sure do like how it looks and feels. I'd recommend it; if only to those who can stand consistently depressing tones. Some films, like this one, don't care whether you enjoyed watching them when it's over. This film feels personal to Hoffman, who helms the picture as if he's done it many times before. The film was definitely good, in my opinion, and it's one of those films that has the sort of grit and wit required to make such familiar waters worth treading. Each character has emotions; and each actor fits their persona. Hoffman is genuinely good at playing uncomfortable men in even more uncomfortable situations, and maybe that's why "Jack Goes Boating" works as much as it does. It's not a great movie; I don't see how it even has the chance to be. But I will tell you this; it's one of the most unappealing movies of 2010 and I still liked it. Why? Why didn't I think it was pretentious? Well, maybe because the truth is that it's not, and it has the kind of emotions and stylistic elements that most dramas don't. Plus, it never goes into melodrama; which is ALWAYS a good thing. None the less, these are dark waters. Row your boat carefully, and only watch the film if you can stick with it. Hoffman's films are seldom a good time, but there's almost always entertaining for their depiction of an intense character study. This film, which is yet another character study starring Hoffman, doesn't want to be anything special. It's not a wondrous success, but it makes me want to see what else Hoffman can do with his directorial style. I like what he's done here, and for the better or for the worst, "Jack Goes Boating" is the "good" kind of depressing. It sets a good tone; and I liked that. It's the kind of film that the audience would love to just see blow up into some huge cinematic combustion, but it will cease to do anything more than merely explode with the kind of emotional passion that only a up-and-coming talent can deliver. This particular film mixes humor with drama, and even when you laugh, it still hurts. That's how unappealing but touching the whole experience was, and I can't do much more than recommend that you see it. Those are my final words, friend.
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