Jack Goes Boating (2010)

Jack Goes Boating

★ ★ 1/2 out of 5

Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman

Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jack

Amy Ryan as Connie

John Ortiz as Clyde

Imdb Link

Jack is a limo driver in New York City who wants more out of life. His friend Clyde sets him up with Connie, who is in a similar state of mind to Jack.

Philip Seymour Hoffman may have been one of the greatest talents in acting of our time, his performances in films like Capote, and The Master could be used to show what real acting should be. However, even though he was a great actor, he didn’t seem to have any of that talent transfer over to his direction with his misguided directorial debut (and only directorial film) Jack Goes Boating. While most of the flaws of the film come down to a poorly put together script, Hoffman could have done something to make it better than that. There is a saying in screenwriting that no line should be in a script unless it; A) Drives plot forward, B) Develops characters, or C) is funny. I would say only about 10% of the lines in the ultra wordy Jack Goes Boating did any of the above. It really is necessary to make every word count in a film like this. The best dialogue driven movies are the ones where every word is necessary and if you cut anything, it would feel off. These are tight scripts. Jack Goes Boating is the opposite of a tight script. 90% of the movie consists of actors just mumbling through boring conversations, which seems realistic, but there’s a reason most films don’t have people speaking through a grocery list. Yes, it’s realistic, but that doesn’t make it good. No one wants to listen to that, they want realism, they can get that daily. Films exist to tell stories, and you can’t tell a story when most of the dialogue is “umm, yeah, sure. Why not.” It’s boring to watch an hour and a half of that. Also, apparently it was supposed to be a comedy? I didn’t laugh a single time, or even crack a smile. That said, Philip Seymour Hoffman does do some really great staging in his scenes, and the camera angles are always pleasant to look at. He definitely showed a lot of promise as a director, if he maybe had the right script, he could’ve done something special.

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