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Some day people will view this film because it is Sam Rockwell's first starring role as an adult (he played a high school student in Clownhouse when he was 18). Nobody saw the movie in theatrical release. It played for a week in one theater in Santa Monica. It came out on video but is almost impossible to find in video rental stores. It's not a great film, but Rockwell's performance makes it worth watching. Judy Reyes and some of the supporting actors are also excellent. Allen Garfield in the title role is the major weak spot.
In "Jack and His Friends", when an overweight, balding, middle aged
shoe salesmen, and a cuckold to boot, meets two young punks on the lam
the law, what emerges is a film that contains not only a half dozen
belly laughs but remains at the same time poignant and unforgettable.
Garfield, Sam Rockwell, and Judy Reyes exhibit masterful comic timing
the brilliantly manic direction of Bruce Ornstein, who also wrote the
screenplay. "Jack..." is clearly reminiscent of both Rohmer and Truffaut
its humanity, while joining the ranks of Almodovar in its tone and ability
to surprise. (Film festival goers take note - Ornstein was hailed as the
"next Almodovar" at the San Sebastian Film Festival in
Kidnapped to his off season island home, Jack (Garfield) comes face to face with his existence at the behest of Louie (Rockwell) and Rosie (Reyes). The trio of outstanding performances are well supported by Marianne (Alison Fraiser) as the sexually starved wife of her psychiatrist husband, Tom. (Paul Hecht) Fraiser and Hecht exhibit moments of comedic game playing that brings to mind what Noel Coward would have written had he lived through the new millennium.
Dan Stoloff contributes soul satisfying cinematography.
What we have here is a gem of a film that was somehow undiscovered at the time of its release. If what you seek are great performances contained within a brilliant story, the discovery of a major directing talent, and to laugh, laugh, laugh -- RUN! (for god sakes, don't walk!) to see "Jack and His Friends".
I agree with the first person to leave feedback, the starring role is the major downfall of the movie. Some of his dialogue was humorous but there was too little. Sam Rockwell stands out, and in my opinion is the most humorous part of the movie. Jeremy Roberts has his moments too as Jack's former island friend, who shows up at his house to rob him.
As others have stated, the only reason to see this is to catch one of Sam
Rockwell's first major roles. This would be the first of many likable petty
criminals Rockwell would go on to play. However, you'd have to be a hard
core fan of his to sit through this movie.
I would not be surprised to learn that this dialog was initially intended for the stage. The problem is that despite trying so hard to be witty and original, it's actually all very old fashioned. It's very much 1960's absurd theater dialog of the kind Albee was writing, though with less, much less, wit.
Allan Garfield does what he can, but even giving his all, it still does not work. Judy Reyes performance, while not without some charm, is basically very amateurish. So, all that remains of interest is Sam Rockwell. In this early role, his strangely compelling screen persona is very much evident. So sharp is his talent, it overcomes this pretentious drivel.
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