Turn Around Jake

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Turn Around Jake Movie Poster Image
Artless redemption story is predictable and trite.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Advocates spiritual faith as a means of redemption. Promotes honesty, finding one's righteous path, commitment, loyalty, and self-examination.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shallow, greedy hero learns life lessons about values, love, family, and self-worth based on good works. All small-town characters are depicted as generous, hard-working, loyal, and spiritually engaged and exhibit grace despite hard times. All corporate characters are unscrupulous, greedy, dishonest, manipulative, and amoral.

Violence

An FBI SWAT team with guns drawn enters a business office; workers run, hide, and are briefly chased.

Sex

Plot centers on a child born to a single mom without the father's knowledge.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking (wine, hard liquor) in numerous scenes. Character states, "I need a drink, a real drink." A reference to someone who was fired because of a drug addiction.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Turn Around Jake is a drama with a faith-based message about one man's journey from the corrupt greedy business world to the homespun values of small town and family. Set in the hyper-driven corporate world in Los Angeles and a small church-centered town in Texas, Jake's "turn around" brings no surprises and no subtlety. Other than a plot that includes a single never-married mom, a sequence in which an FBI SWAT team raids a large company with guns drawn, and the image of some characters consuming alcohol (no drunkenness), the movie is basically harmless and meant to provide another look at the possibilities of redemption in a challenging world. 

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What's the story?

Jake Zaker (Jarret LeMaster) turns a blind eye to the corruption around him at the opening of TURN AROUND JAKE. In fact, he's a willing participant. But when the FBI raids his company's office, Jake finds himself the fall guy for the unscrupulous president (Michael Madsen). Neither his best friend nor his fiancée can be counted on to help. He's desperate: His assets have been frozen, his apartment has been invaded, and everything he's worked for is gone. So Jake does the only thing he can -- he heads home to Texas after a six-year absence. What he finds in the small town from which he eagerly escaped is a loving dad, old friends who are willing to forgive, and the high school sweetheart he hurt and left behind. Hanging onto his pride, his boyhood distaste for the small-town lifestyle, and his need to seem important, Jake finds himself on the brink of losing everything again.

Is it any good?

Good intentions are simply not enough -- this low-budget, amateurish production disappoints on every level. With very few exceptions, the performances are weak; the story is derivative; and the writing and directing are simplistic, completely without subtlety or grace. Everyone's trying hard; everyone involved thinks the message is worth the effort. And, as satisfying as it might be to watch a character struggle with values and past mistakes and find spiritual solace, it doesn't happen here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why "redemption" movies are satisfying to audiences. Are there ways in which Jake's story might help you make important choices?

  • Long-kept secrets are an important part of this plot. Though Jake must bear most of the responsibility for his downfall, do you think his dad and Jessie might have made a difference if they'd been more honest?

  • Talk about this film's predictability. Did anything surprise you about this story, or were you always ahead of the characters and the plot? When did you first know how the film would end?

Movie details

For kids who love uplifting stories

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