Since I first saw the trailer for “Jack Goes Boating” at the beginning of the summer, I have been eagerly awaiting the film’s release. The comedy-drama follows the relationships of two couples: Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), who have been married for years, and Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Connie (Amy Ryan), who just started dating. The couples act as foils to one another; Jack and Connie build a new relationship, while Clyde and Lucy start to fall apart. As it is Hoffman’s directorial debut and based on a play in which Hoffman, Ortiz, and Rubin-Vega all acted, the film has been talked about quite a bit. Here’s what the critics have to say:
- “It comes as little surprise that Hoffman would know how to capture a good performance, and those of ‘Jack Goes Boating’ are incredibly full. Ortiz and Rubin-Vega (‘Rent’), both well-respected theater actors, are excellent. Ortiz, in particular, vacillates between hope and self-destruction with remarkable bipolar truthfulness. Hoffman reveals Jack the sad sack to be an odd, inarticulate Buddha, willing to put in the work it takes for growth. Except for the climactic scene,his direction rarely feels stage-y.” ( Yahoo!)
- “Hoffman’s directorial debut, based on Bob Glaudini’s play, is a tonally offbeat, meandering comedy-drama about two couples—one just developing, the other collapsing—and as such it perhaps would have worked better onstage.” (New York Magazine)
- Hoffman is the famous face of ‘Jack Goes Boating’ […] but Ortiz, who plays Jack’s best friend, Clyde, is the film’s urgent, beating heart. Ortiz finds in Clyde the Henry Higgins impulse, which has him splashing in a Harlem pool with a guy who’s afraid even to put his face in the water. The actor also digs deeper to find the resentment and shame that pushes Clyde toward Jack even as it pulls him away from Lucy. (Village Voice)
- “While Hoffman throws in the occasionally visual frisson, he is more interested in mapping the emotional landscape of his characters. It’s fertile ground. We’re in the land of the deeply inarticulate here, people with big feelings and no way to express them.” (Huffington Post)
Perhaps not a five star movie, but I’ll still be buying my ticket in advance. What do you think?