Jack Goes Boating (2010)
Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut is based on a successful off-Broadway play by Robert Glaudini and belongs to a recent whiff of nominally and thematically Eric Rohmer inspired films such as Margot at the Wedding, Lars and the Real Girl, Dan in Real Life and Rachel Getting Married. Jack Goes Boating shares its offbeat outlook on life with these films, but it lacks interesting and/or believable characters, which arguably is the make or break ingredient for a film as moody and uneventful as this one. The story about Jack, a dysfunctional overgrown teenager surrounded by dysfunctional friends, is low-key beyond repair. Jack seems to have been living under a stone all his life; his days are spent learning essential skills such as swimming or cooking dinners. The accomplishments are painfully minimal, even for a bunch of dysfunctionals. And coupled with Hoffman's dwelling directorial style (even if there's rarely anything to dwell over), the film remains inherently trite - and mostly sad - from start to finish. On the up-side, Hoffman does exhibit some nice compositional details and camerawork, and there are fine actors involved who do as best they can with the material.