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64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Jack is a limo driver with vague dreams of landing a job with the MTA and an obsession with reggae that has prompted him to begin a half-hearted attempt at growing dreadlocks. He spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend and fellow driver Clyde and Clyde’s wife Lucy. The couple set Jack up with Connie, Lucy’s co-worker at a Brooklyn funeral home. Being with Connie inspires Jack to learn to cook, pursue a new career and take swimming lessons from Clyde so he can give Connie the romantic boat ride she dreams of. But as Jack and Connie cautiously circle commitment, Clyde and Lucy’s marriage begins to disintegrate. From there, we watch as each couple comes face to face with the inevitable path of their relationship. (Overture Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 83
    It's the kind of story that can look pedestrian on paper, but when brought to life this skillfully, proves to be genuinely inspiring.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    80
    Hoffman's directorial debut transfers to film the company's ethos of an ensemble performing with ruthless honesty encouragingly well. And that's why it's fitting that this drama asks so much of, and gets so much from, Ortiz.
  3. 75
    The ruefully funny Jack Goes Boating, which, refreshingly, takes a generous view of its flawed characters, is a must for us many Hoffman fans.
  4. 70
    Making his feature directing debut, Hoffman shows considerable generosity toward the other players, which was probably a good idea given his own listless performance as the mumbling title character.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    63
    Jack Goes Boating won't knock you over, but it lulls you with its slow-warming heart.
  6. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Oct 31, 2011
    60
    Philip Seymour Hoffman puts his oar in with a tender, thoughtful adaption of Robert Glaudini's stage play. A little too measured to deliver an emotional punch, it's nevertheless beautifully acted and at times rather lovely.
  7. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    40
    Hoffman predictably knocks a familiar role out of the park (and just as unsurprisingly, wrings excellence from his performers) in this rather trivial, downbeat four-hander about a working-class couple trying to connect during a Gotham winter.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Feb 16, 2014
    10
    No glamour here. Just unparalleled acting from Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega and the rest of the cast. A strong, tender movie. There's an astonishing moment near the end of the film that showcases Philip Seymour Hoffman's power. A great story from Robert Glaudini. Excellent use of life, and NYC, as characters, too. Expand
  2. Sep 18, 2010
    10
    What a wonderful film. An honest, intimate, and warm portrayal of three relationships involving four people: two couples and the close friendship of two men played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ruiz. The movie was made by Hoffman - his first as a director. The soundtrack and cinematography add depth to this adaptation of a stage play. "Jack Goes Boating" is at times hilarious, yet also sad. It almost has feel of a European movie with small apartments and normal looking people. Forget the golden light, the million dollar homes, or gorgeous babes that usually populate Hollywood love stories. This is working class New York, gritty, and at times ugly, but always alert, alive and, yes.... real. The acting is first rate, with Amy Ryan at her very best. A film for adults. Truly. Expand
  3. Oct 3, 2010
    8
    A beautifully told story about life finding meaning through love. The pace is a bit slow at times or I'd give this movie a ten. The supporting cast is excellent, the dialogue is honest and Hoffman does an able job of helming his first film. Expand
  4. Oct 2, 2010
    7
    Sweet and subtle until it becomes needlessly jarring and the wheels come off for a short time. The film recovers fairly well, but left me wondering why some choices were made... In any case, Hoffman is superb and delightful to watch as is Ryan. Overall a great film for a mature audience willing to revel in the small things and go along for the ride. Go relaxed, with a clear and open mind and enjoy. Expand
  5. Oct 22, 2010
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Maybe Jack(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) caught a midnight showing of Perry Henzell's "The Harder They Come" at some brokedown second-run theater, or simply bought the iconic movie's reggae-dominated soundtrack, but regardless of where the aging dread-locked taxi driver first heard The Melodians' "Rivers of Babylon", we know it changed his life, probably for the worse, and now as middle age encroaches, the ganja-smoking cabbie is paying the price for being a Rastafarian in a capitalist society. When Jack was a younger man, with his young man's ideals and axioms, lighting up a joint functioned as both an act of spiritual enlightenment and rebellion against the Ideological State Apparatuses of our country's democratic government, unlike now, in which Jack gets high for the sake of getting high, without any designs on getting closer to God, or being an anti-capitalist. If Jack's mission in his misspent life was to reject western society, consider the mission accomplished, because western society has resoundingly rejected him. To help illustrate this point, cinematically, Jack and his best friend Clyde(John Ortiz) stare at the city skyline from the hinterlands of their cabstand, far-removed from the movers and shakers who pound the pavement of the New York city streets, while they stand near their stretch limo taxis and try not to crazy, as life passes them by. That's why Jack needs a new song. "Rivers of Babylon" no longer posseses the dynamism to make the Rasta feel "irie"; it's a personal theme song whose original theme of staying positive haunts the cab driver, like in the opening scene, where Jack, eyes wide open in bed, looks disillusioned and frightened, unsure of the future, and yet he insists on keeping himself insulated with The Melodians' music, like a junkie, still remembering and hoping for that original contact high. Somebody has to save him; somebody has to yank off those headphones, and maybe that somebody is the embalmer's assistant, Connie(Amy Ryan), who works with Lucy(Daphnie Rubin-Vega), Clyde's wife, at a funeral parlour. "Jack Goes Boating" is nothing new for Philip Seymour Hoffman, quite possibly, the least vain of the A-list actors(John C. Reilly running a close second), in which he played the same sort of "loser"(opposite Camryn Manheim) in Todd Solondz's "Happiness", but as a filmmaker, Hoffman has a lot more sympathy for people, and never allows his debut offering to lapse into a burlesque of miserableness. Faced with new possibilities, personal and professional horizons to counter the onset of arrested development that has its hooks in the cab driver, Jack takes the plunge, figuratively and literally, jumping into romance and the pool, lessons both, in love and swimming, the latter, as a means by which the MTA aspiree plans to take Connie boating in a conformist lake at the conformist public park. In "The Harder They Come", Ivan(Jimmy Cliff) misses the boat(to Cuba) he desperately swims toward, the same fate which could have befallen Jack if not for the dinner party incident at his friends' house. Because of the drugs, nobody notices the dinner that Jack had prepared from scratch for this intimate gathering, catches on fire, as the dinner guests were too busy passing the hookah around, just like how The Musical Youth taught them, "on the left-hand side". Outraged, at both his ruined casserole and life, Jack locks himself in the bathroom, but is lured out by a Melodians' sing-a-long. The reggae song proves itself effective for short-term problems: the ruined casserole. It's not nearly as effective for long-term ones, though, when Lucy replaces Jack in the loo, after Clyde upsets his wife for inviting her old flame to the party, a passive-aggressive move that costs him his marriage. Connie hands the cuckolded husband the tape recorder, then shrinks away from the potential shrapnel, as the swimming instructor beats "Rivers of Babylon" into permanent silence. Clyde's actions have the effect of giving his best friend a fresh start in life. The song needed to die; the song had worked in concert with the ganja, a facilitating accomplice to the drug that kept Jack in a fixed state. In an earlier scene, during her stay at the hospital following an assault, he tells Connie not to worry if she doesn't get all the lyrics. It's an ironical statement for Jack to make because he doesn't get the lyrics either. After "Jack Goes Boating" with Connie, then Jack can go music shopping with the embalmer's assistant and find a new song that describes their new life together, since his Rastafarian pretensions is a thing of the past. The Zionist state doesn't end up killing Jack like it did the Jimmy Cliff character in "The Harder They Come"(or Peter Tosh, in real life, for that matter). He's a strong swimmer; he doesn't miss the boat. Expand
  6. May 25, 2011
    3
    I was expecting one of those movies where nothing happens, yet everything happens but in this case nothing does happen. Even Hoffman could not save this movie. Its like Punch Drunk love without the good parts. The only good thing is the Goldfrapp and Fleet foxes songs. Expand
  7. Sep 24, 2010
    3
    I'm such a huge fan of Hoffman that I went wanting (and expecting) to like this film but alas, I couldn't. I found it incoherent. Yes, the acting is wonderful but when all is said and done, so what? Great acting alone cannot make a great film. There needs to be more...and there isn't. Too bad. Expand

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