Film Review

Plenty of Shy Love in Jack Goes Boating

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays director and romantic lead in this so-real-it-hurts love story.

By Laura Dannen September 24, 2010

Philip Seymour Hoffman (left) and John Ortiz chat during a Jack Goes Boating press stop in Seattle. Photo by Lindsay Borden

In his directorial debut, Philip Seymour Hoffman strips the Hollywood sheen from the "romantic comedy" Jack Goes Boating, showing the shy love story of New York City limo driver Jack (Hoffman) and an undertaker’s assistant (Amy Ryan) with all its flaws and fetishes. It’s a refreshingly real, slow-cooking indie film that patiently develops one relationship while its rips apart another—the marriage of Jack’s best friend Clyde (John Ortiz, Hoffman’s real-life friend) and cheating wife Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega). But for all its languor, there’s incredible heart. Just watching a dreadlocked Hoffman—in one of those sadsack roles he does so well—learn to swim or cook for his troubled sweetie Connie is enough to endear anyone who isn’t already a Hoffman fan (do they exist?) to the veteran actor. Hold out for the crazed third act of this stage-to-screen adaptation—it slaps lingering sedateness clean out of the film.

Check our November issue for an extended interview with Hoffman. Jack Goes Boating is in theaters nationwide on Sept 24.

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