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Jack Goes Boating


Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, Daphne Rubin-Vega, John Ortiz, Tom McCarthy.

Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut with an attractive tale of misfits falling in love. It’s based on the stage play by Bob Glaudini, which he adapted for the screen and which starred Hoffman, Ortiz and Rubin-Vega in the off-Broadway stage production.

New York Limo driver Hoffman swims a lot (a fairly obvious metaphor for his state of mind that is perhaps a tad over-used by director Hoffman) but has a lonely life apart from the friendship of married couple Ortiz and Rubin-Vega. Ortiz and his wife decide to introduce Hoffman to equally off-centre Ryan who works with Rubin-Vega at a Brooklyn undertakers. We follow the odd couple’s romance during which he learns to cook and looks for a new job and she gets Ortiz to teach her to swim…

It’s a slight story and sometimes shows its stage origins in the dialogue. That said, the uniformly fine performances animate it and its blend of character-driven comedy and drama remain in your mind. Hoffman makes the transition from stage director (he and Ortiz are former artistic directors of New York’s LAByrinth Theater Company) to film director with assurance and a sharp eye for location whenever the story moves from interiors to aptly chosen New York backgrounds. Slight but memorable.

Alan Frank

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Trinity Filmed Entertainment. Colour.
91 minutes. not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 03 Nov 2011