Jack Goes Boating

  • Review Date: September 13, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Touching story about relationships is for mature viewers.
  • Review Date: September 13, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Age

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The four main characters all seem to be striving toward bettering themselves and overcoming their weaknesses. In some cases they help one another and encourage one another. The hero, Jack, needs the most help but comes the farthest during the course of the film. Unfortunately, Jack can do nothing to help his married friends with relationship trouble, and they don't appear to be addressing the situation in the healthiest of ways. Not all of the movie's problems are solved.

Positive role models

Jack begins the film as a near emotional cripple; he barely speaks and lives a bare-bones existence. After he's introduced to a girl, he tries to make himself a better person. He learns to swim -- so that he can take her boating several months later -- and to cook. He also learns to overcome his shyness and sadness to be himself. The drawback is that he needs so much work that he never appears to be available to offer any help to his friend; one comes up while the other goes down.

Violence

A married couple shoutshateful things at each other during a heated argument. A woman is attacked on a subway, but the attack isn't shown -- viewers see a man approaching her and then her bloody face sometime later (the images are only mildly graphic; she goes to work before going to the hospital).

Sex

A man and a woman are seen in bed together, having a frank discussion about sex (their fears and hopes). In a later scene, they fall into bed together, finally ready for the deed. A married couple deals with issues of infidelity, and past sex acts are discussed. There are a couple of inappropriate workplace touching scenes, and a woman describes an incident in which a man "rubbed up against her." General sex talk throughout.

Language

Several uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Also hear "bitch," and "God" (used as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Heavy, seemingly casual use of cigarettes, wine, beer, pot, and cocaine during the course of the movie. One character smokes cigarettes regularly and uses cocaine once. All of the characters drink wine with dinner several times. During a dinner party, one character brings out a hookah pipe. All of the characters get so stoned that the food cooking in the kitchen burns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this character-based drama (which marks the directorial debut of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who also stars) is poignant and touching but meant for adults thanks to its frequent sex talk, drinking and drug use, and language (especially "f--k"). Hoffman's character is somewhat inspirational, pulling himself out of a sad existence when he meets a girl and trying to improve himself so he deserves her. But at the same time, his best friend's marriage is falling apart. Teens may not be interested in this quiet story, but adults who are already Hoffman fans may appreciate it.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman) works for his uncle as a limo driver, as does his best friend, Clyde (John Ortiz). Jack is a sad, quiet, shy type who isn't very social. During a New York winter, Clyde's wife, Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sets him up on a blind date with a co-worker, Connie (Amy Ryan). They hit it off, setting a date for the next summer to go boating in the park. But Jack can't swim, so he arranges for lessons with Clyde. He also learns to cook so that he can invite Connie to a dinner party. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong at the party, with Clyde and Lucy's marriage disintegrating faster than Jack and Lucy's relationship progresses.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Already a celebrated actor, Hoffman makes his directorial debut in this drama based upon a 2007 play by Bob Glaudini (in which Hoffman also starred). Perhaps not surprisingly, the result is more character-based than it is flashy or visual. It would almost come across as a fairly routine indie/Sundance-type movie if not for the superior acting and subtle characterization.

A surface reading shows a good number of "quirky" touches -- from Jack's penchant for reggae music and his quasi-dreadlocked hair to the montage "learning" sequences to some of the staging and soundtrack choices. But Hoffman clearly feels this material, and he turns it into an intimate, emotionally rich atmosphere, with the four leads playing off of one another with great skill, comfort, and complexity; the movie is strong enough for a second reading. It's a refreshing drama made by and for grown-ups.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Jack and Connie. Are they good communicators? Do they do a good job of discussing what they want and what they're afraid of? How does this affect the way that the movie depicts sex?

  • Does Clyde have a problem with drinking, smoking, or drugs? Is he addicted, or is he using the substances to ease the pain of his failing marriage? Is that an excuse?

  • Is Jack a good role model? Throughout the film, everyone seems to help him, but he's rarely able to offer any help back -- does that make him selfish? Would he help if he could?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 17, 2010
DVD release date:January 18, 2011
Cast:Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director:Philip Seymour Hoffman
Studio:Overture Films
Genre:Romance
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, drug use and some sexual content

This review of Jack Goes Boating was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass