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Jack
USA 1996
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Running time 113 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Jack (the movie, not its eponymous subject) as long as you accept the treacly feel-good family movie format to which it adheres. What is surprising, in both form and content, is that it was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, once justly regarded as America’s most audacious living film director. Whatever the reason Coppola was in the big chair, I doubt anyone could have done much that was interesting with the sentimental, predictable script by James DeMonaco and Gary Nadeau about a boy with a disease that causes him to age prematurely.

The bulk of the story involves Jack (Robin Willams in a role originally intended for Tom Hanks) as a 10 year old going on 40 who starts at the local school and must weather the difficulties in which his “freak”-like appearance places him with the other kids. If Coppola’s directorial presence goes unnoticed at least he holds back on the syrup until the very end although nothing can withstand Williams’ faux gaucheness which more often than not makes Jack seem to border on retardation than acceleration.  Whilst to be fair there are moments when the script hits a genuine note, most of the time it is simply cliché after cliché with an incongruously smutty tone for what is a family movie concerning Jack’s ability to buy soft-core porn magazines without being challenged (and what 10 year old would go to a bar for an assignation with a cheap floozy)?

 

 

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