Thursday, September 16, 2010
Philip Seymour Hoffman gets behind the camera and stars in JACK GOES BOATING
Philip Seymour Hoffman? Maybe -- but nobody draws me into the life of whatever character he's playing -- from Happiness to Flawless, The Talented Mr. Ripley to Synecdoche, New York -- better than this portly and not-quite-what-you'd-call-gorgeous actor. Even when he plays a sex scene, as he does in his new film JACK GOES BOATING, so well does he draw you into the moment, that I swear you are with him every second, all the way -- in his skin and rooting for the guy like crazy -- with not a shred of embarrassment at his pasty white and ample body so fully displayed. This is a wonderful accomplishment, but it is just one of so many the actor, shown below, has managed.
Amy Ryan, Daphne Rubin-Vega and (the guy who pretty much steals the movie) John Ortiz. Hoffman also has chosen to make this film his directorial debut -- from a stage play (which he also directed) that has morphed into a screenplay, both of them by Robert Glaudini. This is a small, slice-of-life work that details the friendship between Jack and his best buddy Clyde (Mr. Ortiz), both of whom work as limo drivers. Jack is, shall we say, socially under-developed, so Clyde and his woman Lucy (Ms Rubin-Vega) set him up on a date with a new employee, Connie (Ms Ryan) from Lucy's office. Complications ensue.
Gone Baby Gone, Bob Funk, The Missing Person) takes a role that could easily descend into cliché and lends it utter reality. She and Hoffman make a great pair; I'd love to see more of the lives of these characters beyond the confines of this film. Despite that somewhat misshapen finale, Hoffman should be proud: He's bitten off only a bit more than he can chew and has given us a lovely little movie. For his fans, it's a don't-miss; for the as-yet-unconverted, it will come as a nice surprise.
Jack Goes Boating, from Overture Films, opens Friday, September 17, in New York and Los Angeles. Click here for theaters and ticket purchase.