Thursday, September 30, 2010

Movie Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman's Directorial Debut

Jack Goes Boating

Philip Seymour Hoffman has chosen familiar territory for his feature directorial debut -- the film adaptation of the 2007 off-Broadway play, Jack Goes Boating. Hoffman starred in Bob Glaudini's play -- an unconventional love story set in working-class New York City. On film, the Oscar-winner (for Capote) reprises his role as Jack, a limo driver unlucky in love.

Joining Hoffman is his Capote co-star, Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) -- who plays Connie. Like Jack, she's also loveless. They're two middle-aged misfits who were somewhat damaged by life's experiences -- enough so that they never properly navigated the romance game. To the rescue are couple Clyde and Lucy -- who set their friends/co-workers up on a blind date. What ensues is a mix of humor and drama -- as one couple begins to take shape while another may suffer from irreparable damage.

Also reprising their roles from the play are John Ortiz (Two Lovers) as Clyde and Daphne Rubin-Vega (Wild Things) as Lucy. And Glaudini wrote the screenplay based on his own original work. Only Beth Cole, who played Connie in the play, did not take part in the movie. Although a small independent film, it's a believable tale of love, betrayal and friendship. Strengthened by excellent acting by all and showcasing a convincing slice of New York life, it's an admirable start to Hoffman's directing career. Some may argue that Hoffman has pigeon-holed himself in sad-sack roles. But who else can do it so well? [Rated R; in select cities now; opens wider tomorrow]

Grade: B

  • Click on the Film Reviews icon at left to read other recent reviews.
  • Coming soon: reviews of The Social Network, Catfish, RED and Conviction.
  • Amy Ryan attended my Jack Goes Boating screening last week -- and was especially gracious. The next day, she made many press rounds to promote the film. Here below is an interview with Philadelphia NBC10's "The 10! Show."

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