Review: Jack Goes Boating DVD

STUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman | CAST: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin Vega, Amy Ryan, Lola Glaudini
1/18/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
featurettes, deleted scenes,  more
SPECS: R | 91 min. | Drama romance | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Jack Goes Boating movie scene with Philip Seymour HoffmanJack Goes Boating, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (Capote) directorial debut, is an acquired taste, but one that rewards fans who like their movies smaller in scope, character-driven and extremely well-acted.

An adaptation of the 2007 play by Bob Glaudini (that starred Hoffman and others in the  film version when it opened in New York), Jack Goes Boating finds Hoffman in the title role as a lonely, middle-aged New York cab driver looking for love and a change in his drab life. Seeking help from married couple friends Clyde (John Ortiz, Public Enemies) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin Vega, Wild Things), Jack gets introduced to Connie (Amy Ryan, The Missing Person), a woman with her own psychological issues to get over. As a poignant and bitterswee relationship develops between Jack and Connie, Clyde and Lucy’s union becomes more and more volatile until their marriage is threatened by skeletons from their closet.

While Jack is a fairly straightforward film in style and its stage origins are obvious at times, Hoffman does a fine job handling his ensemble cast, finding subtle and moving moments, and making the most of his New York locations. Also noteworthy are some memorable  scenes in where Jack learns how to swim and a winning score by indie rockers Grizzly Bear. And the actor himself scores once again in a familiar role as a likable, sometimes-stoned shlub, only this time he’s learning to be wise rather than dispensing wisdom as he did in films such as Almost Famous and Pirate Radio.

The DVD and Blu-ray includes deleted scenes, a featurette survey on the Manhattan locations and a look at Jack’s transition from stage play to film.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.