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Jack Goes Boating

Directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman

The multiplex era has not exactly been teeming with sensitively written stories of unglamorous 40ish people bashfully approaching intimacy and taking the entire running time to get into the sack. So Jack Goes Boating is something of a refreshing, anachronistic throwback to a time, more than half-a-century ago, when Marty represented what many dramatists aspired to. Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman, also making his directorial début) and Clyde (John Ortiz) are best friends and New York limo drivers. Genial but insecure, Jack loves reggae so much he’s gone halfway toward putting his hair into dreadlocks – which means it’s a mess. He tends to throw people’s phrases right back at them and speak in very short sentences, so uncertain is he about what to say, and he clearly has very little going on in his life. Outgoing and truly fond of Jack, Clyde is married to Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), who works at a Brooklyn funeral home where Connie (Amy Ryan) is trying to prove her worth. Alternately attractive or plain from one moment to the next, Connie is a game woman who’s evidently never caught a break; early on, she’s brutally assaulted on the subway. Clyde and Lucy think there’s a potential match between their friends, and while Jack and Connie are amenable, they are also temperamentally inclined to take it slow; it’s dead of winter, and maybe by summer it will be time for things to blossom. In the meantime, the ever-helpful Clyde gives his land-lubber friend swimming lessons in preparation for the boat ride Jack intends to give Connie, and Jack also takes cooking lessons so he can fulfill his promise of preparing a dinner for her. In addition, he applies for the job he really wants with the MTA. Essentially, Jack Goes Boating is a tale of self-improvement and optimism inspired by the prospect of being loved. Connie warns Jack that she’s not ready yet, but assures him she will be, which actually plays amusingly coming from someone her age. Displaying a girth that will give hope to overweight romantics everywhere, Hoffman knows his character inside and out and invites the viewer close to this limited, good-hearted fellow. As a director, Hoffman is generous to the other actors, as Ortiz brandishes many moods as the emotional Clyde, Daphne Rubin-Vega conversely goes about her business despite increasing frustration until all hell breaks loose, and Amy Ryan shades Connie beautifully with many colours as she very cautiously allows love into her life. – Todd McCarthy, Variety Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Running Time: 
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy
Screenplay by: 
Bob Glaudini (screenplay), Bob Glaudini (play)

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