Sometimes a film can be adapted from a play and never quite escape its roots as a play. Jack Goes Boating, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, falls square into this category. Jack feels like a play in the fact that there are long scenes in the same location with the actors doing nothing but standing around talking.
The story revolves around a budding relationship between Jack (Hoffman) and Connie (Amy Ryan). Both are shy and uneasy in the early stages of the relationship and not madly perfectly in love like most movies make it out to be. Along with the budding relationship of Jack and Connie, Jack’s friends Clyde and Lucy are heading in the opposite direction. Again, a nice job of acting from both actors as it takes about half of the movie before any of the reasons for their troubled relationship is mentioned, but you still can feel that there is a problem brewing between the two. And as the movie progresses, both relationships continue building toward their climax which comes at a dinner party hosted by Clyde and Lucy and cooked by Jack.
This is a dialogue heavy film and such has to rely heavily on the script to move the story along. This is a strong play that lends itself to the medium of cinema as the story has a real feel to it and that is a credit to the actors. The dialogue is good and keeps the story moving forward. There are a few jokes mixed in to keep the story from being too depressing, however most of the jokes are on the dry side and are delivered without waiting for a laugh. It’s not often the sentence “I’m not ready for penis penetration” goes by hardly unnoticed, but this movie manages to pull it off.
The pacing does drag a bit in the middle when they get a little too hung up on the message of dealing with trouble in any relationship but overall the movie does just about everything right.
Jack Goes Boating is presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio and Dolby TrueHD 5.1.
The movie looks fine, there’s not a lot of movement in the shots, just a lot of medium shots on the characters in the scene. If anything there could be more diversity in the shots taken.
The audio is another gold standard, it sounds great and they use sound wonderfully throughout the movie, but what I really liked was the music selection. The music is really good and used very well to break up the movie and even set up a few things.
Jack’s New York: A look at the city of New York and the producers and director talking about the pains they went through to use the city as another character.
From The Stage To The Big Screen: The actors and producers talking about the play becoming a movie.
Deleted Scenes: Two scenes. One from the subway that would have been one of the funnier in the movie and another on the subway that was just silly.
This is a slow moving, dialog based movie that is wonderfully acted and has a solid script behind it. It has a good sense of humor alongside some of the deeper issues it touches on. It’s not really a movie you’re going to sit down and thoroughly enjoy, but it’s good at what it does. It feels like an indie with a bigger budget. Renting it is probably a better choice.
Overture Films presents Jack Goes Boating. Directed by: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Starring: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Written by: Bob Glaudini. Running time: 91 Minutes. Rating: Rated R. Released on Blu-ray and DVD: January 18, 2011.