Jack Goes Boating (P.S. Hoffman, 2010)

Jack Goes Boating (Philip Seymour Hoffman, 2010)

I was both impressed and disappointed by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut. What I found myself most fascinated by was the treatment and presentation of the film’s side story. The married couple who set up Hoffman and Amy Ryan’s characters is actually the most interesting aspect of the film. Their skewed version of marital reality is either sad a) because they actually believe the lies they’ve been telling themselves for years about infidelity, or b) because they have to resort to lying to themselves in hopes of convincing themselves their sad situation isn’t all bad. Nothing is held back, though, as these two finally lash out at one another in the film’s great, yet awkward dinner party scene.

As a contrast, the new love between Hoffman and Ryan is kind of stale. I have to assume that with Hoffman being involved in Punch Drunk Love, he really wanted a similar sort of vibe here. But it just doesn’t work. Quite frankly, there aren’t enough cute and awkward flirtatious scenes between the two. Hoffman seems to have a better handle on relationships falling apart than coming together. It’s too bad because I definitely have more of a soft spot for relationships coming together – go figure.  7.5/10

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