Saturday, April 2, 2011

Netflix Dare: Jack

JACK is the story of a young boy who suffers from a disorder that causes him to age at four times the normal rate and the trials he goes through as he attends a public school for the first time. Played with tenderness and pathos by the great Robin Williams, it is easy to believe that Jack is a ten year old boy in the body of a forty year old man. An all-star cast, featuring the likes of Bill Cosby, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Michael McKean, and Fran Drescher, are there to tee up the jokes for Williams to knock out of the park. But JACK is no mere laugh-fest. It's got a lot of heart. Directed with a masterful hand by Francis Ford Coppola, it belongs in the pantheon right alongside the director's best works, including THE GODFATHER, THE CONVERSATION, and APOCALYPSE NOW.

Wait. What I meant to say is that JACK is a total hunk of garbage. The movie itself seems to suffer from a disorder that makes every minute of it feel like four. It suffers from the same curse as the vast majority of movies ever made. It's horrible all right, but not horrible enough to be unintentionally funny. Even it's badness is mediocre. I think the only point that I even cracked a smile is when Robin Williams gets punched in the face at a bar by a guy wearing a silk shirt (who, according to Fran Drescher is "really tough"). But that's about it. Bill Cosby's soul patch is weird, but not enough to merit a chuckle.

You'd think that playing a ten year old would be a walk in the park for Williams, but there's a scene in the movie in which he just can't help himself and goes into his I-just-can't-rein-this-in shtick as if he were on a late night talk show. Coppola apparently didn't have the restraint to leave this bit of improvisation on the cutting room floor.

Other than that, if you like fart jokes, jokes that fall flat on their face, child actors, and cloying sentimentality, you might want to check this one out. When this round of the Netflix Dare came around, I thought I had been a bit too cruel in challenging the Movie Goer to watch HELLGATE. Now that I've seen both, I can safely say that I'd rather watch HELLGATE. And I think HELLGATE might be the worst movie I've ever seen.

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