Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Jack Goes Boating
At the beginning we meet Jack (Hoffman), a limo driver who agrees to be set up on a blind date with Connie (Ryan.) This is all arranged by friends Clyde (John Ortiz) and his wife Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), a co-worker of Connie's. In a refreshing antithesis to the usual romantic comedy meet-cute scenario, they meet over dinner where Connie in great detail describes her past family tragedy, pointing out her social ineptitude. And this being Hoffman in subdued form, rather than largely than life form, he himself is suffering from the same ailment. From the get go they're a perfect match. And so Jack in turn yearns to become a better man for Connie by learning how to swim (she's a fan of boating) and by cooking (no one's ever cooked for her before), and in so instructs the helps of his friends.
Really what had to be a four person play is opened up quite well, and Hoffman as director guides the three other principles to well-crafted performances. Ortiz and Rubin-Vega (the original Mimi in Rent) are quite good a projecting a long married couple who mean well, only ultimately to fall. The centerpiece scene of the piece revolves a dinner party Jack throws for Connie, and while many might be weary of the shift in tone the film takes during the rather long sequence, it's a nice journey to take with the actors, as each gets in a small way there own sort of Tennessee Williams moment to shine.
Jack Goes Boating is small, but kind of special too. It plays and flows like one would expect a Phillip Seymour Hoffman indie too, but there's humanity and humor aplenty. And as slight and indie-centric as it is, there was also a tad bit of magic incensed as well. B