Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jack Goes Boating - ***1/2

It doesn't seem that a film like Jack Goes Boating should work nearly as well as it does. It's really bizarre. It's as if a really funny script is being played with the utmost seriousness by four brilliant actors, which somehow makes it even funnier. Or at least I hope the laughs were intentional, because there were so goddamn many of them. The film is essentially a master class in awkward tension and brutal comedy. For about the first half I wasn't sure what to make of it. There doesn't seem to be much going on, but less a story than a character study of four people who do not know how to act in each other's presence, as though they bring out each other's flaws. But at the same time I found myself identifying with these people, and really caring for them, and beneath all of the awkwardness, the weirdness, and the tension, Jack Goes Boating ends up being really sweet, though it takes the most absurd path to get there.

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