18 February 2011 | lewiskendell
Not bad for a first time effort. Not bad at all.
"You've never been in a relationship for any length of time. A lot happens."
Jack Goes Boating is a raw, hard to categorize directorial debut for Philip Seymour Hoffman, adapted from the play of the same title.
I guess if I had to assign it a genre, it would be indie drama. The story follows the hesitantly blossoming relationship between Jack (Hoffman) and Connie (Amy Ryan), and the rocky, established relationship of their friends Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega).
Jack Goes Boating reminded me of Two Lovers in some ways. It involves flawed people making decisions that aren't always the wisest ones, and dealing with things in their past that make their current relationships more difficult.
Don't expect this to be romantic or cutesy, it attempts to go for the "realistic" angle, with all the problems and realities that come with real adult relationships. That's derailed a bit by the occasionally awkward dialogue and characters that aren't really as fleshed out as they needed to be. We don't get much of a sense of who they used to be or what their past was like, and that would have added to the movie immensely. It's somewhat difficult to put into context the characters as they are now, without that information.
Still, I think this was a pretty decent debut from Hoffman. He's clearly in the process of learning what works from the other side of the camera, and it's puzzling why they didn't adjust the odd, romance novel-like dialogue in some places, but overall, Jack Goes Boating hints at a promising future. There are some poignant moments that really stuck out, to me. Fans of Hoffman and Ryan (count me as both) should check it out.