Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jack Goes Boating

Philip Seymour Hoffman is an actor who opens himself up on screen, leaving all of his good and bad qualities for the audience to bear. With his first film as a director his approach is somewhat similar as he takes a stage play and opens it up as much as he can, something that is often hard to do with the material. Here we have the story of two relationships, one just blossoming and the other withering, and we observe how all involve act towards their respective partners. Jack (Hoffman) and Clyde (John Ortiz) are limo drivers and best pals. Clyde is confidant and has been in a long term relationship with Lucy. He wants to see his socially awkward friend happy and decides to hook him up with Connie (Amy Ryan),  one of Lucy's coworkers. After hitting it off on the first date, Jack wants things to be perfect for their next encounter so he begins taking cooking lessons. He also takes swimming lessons, so he can take Connie on a romantic boat ride when the weather improves. These sweet happenings are counteracted with Clyde and Lucy's relationship, which has been disintegrating after several instances of infidelity. Not all the ongoings in this film seem believable, but the actors bring credibility to their roles. Hoffman succeeds at playing another misfit, this time with hair braids who retreats into himself and his reggae music. Amy Adams, who became clear to viewers as the crack addled racist mother in Gone Baby Gone and then endeared herself to viewers of TV's The Office, again strikes the right notes as Connie, a damaged soul herself. There is warmth and tenderness in their courtship. By the time the movie was finished, I thought the film had misstepped in a few places, but I was really rooting for the characters, even if I didn't always buy some of their dialogue and actions.