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Jack Goes Boating

Two couples find their relationships moving in opposite directions

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Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut adapting Bob Glaudini's play for the big screen. Hoffman reprises his stage role as Jack, a sad sack of a limo driver whose buddy Clyde (John Ortiz) sets him up with his wife's colleague. Besides their job, the two women have little in common: Clyde's wife, Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), is ambitious and brash, whereas Connie (Amy Ryan) is tentative and nervous. But Jack and Connie click -- albeit very awkwardly. (These are the grandchildren of Marty.) Though it's midwinter, Jack rashly promises Connie he'll take her boating come summer -- and this offhanded remark forces Jack to emerge from his depressive state. The outlook isn't so sunny for Clyde and Lucy's troubled marriage. 

Jack is quietly entertaining, but never really grabs hold. There's a lot of silent brooding here that I suspect wasn't there on stage. While it does help to define these four lonely, searching souls, it also slows the film down. Hoffman's Jack barely speaks, but his real self seems at ease behind the camera. At its heart, Jack remains an intimate, single-set drama with four characters bouncing off one another. Still, location shooting helps open it up, and the performances are good. AMC Loews

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