Jack Goes Boating (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Jack Goes Boating</strong> (2010)

(On Cable TV, February 2012) I’m not usually a good audience for the kind of low-budget, low-stakes working-class dramas exemplified by Jack Goes Boating.  I like genre stories with imagination, high stakes, some action and upbeat humor… not slow-paced dramas in which self-destructive characters to their best to ruin their lives.  Yet there’s something compelling in Jack Goes Boating; Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sad-sack performance is oddly likable, even set within a directorial debut that doesn’t try to glamourize his character.  In tackling intimate issues about budding romance and confronting it to long-term commitment issues, the script confronts issues commonly left unsaid, and there’s a quiet elegance to the way it throws together plot strands in a universe essentially made out of four people.  (You just want to invite two of them home, feed them dinner and tell them everything is going to be all right.  The other two can go stew in their own self-pity.)  Adapted from a theater play, Jack Goes Boating isn’t the most dynamic film out there… but it reaches its objectives, hints at a few profound truths and sticks in mind a while longer than expected.

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