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Jack the Bear (1993)

 -  Drama  -  2 April 1993 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,890 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 11 critic

Danny De Vito is a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Jack the Bear (1993)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Leary
...
...
...
Norman Strick
...
Mr. Festinger
...
Father-in-Law
Erica Yohn ...
Mother-in-Law
...
Elizabeth Leary
...
...
...
Mitchell
Carl Gabriel Yorke ...
Gordon Layton
...
Mrs. Festinger
Lorinne Vozoff ...
Mrs. Mitchell
Justin Mosley Spink ...
Dexter Mitchell
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Storyline

Danny De Vito is a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on plucky Jack the Bear (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.). De Vito's conscience, and a quantity of alcohol leads him to denounce a neo-fascist candidate on his children's TV programme - and also to the kidnapping of youngest son Dylan (Miko Hughes) by a disturbed neo-nazi supporter. Written by David Holmes <d.r.h@btinternet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of theme, and for some terror | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jack the Bear  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,145,462 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1992, Danny DeVito had played The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992), and Gary Sinise had played George in Of Mice and Men (1992). Both roles were previously played by Burgess Meredith. See more »

Goofs

At the end when Jack is playing the piano, Dylan comes downstairs and starts walking towards him. In the next shot, Dylan is back at the stairs again. See more »

Quotes

John Leary: Jackie, my heart's beginning to beat with the monster's heart.
See more »

Connections

Features Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

I Shall Be Released
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by The Band
Courtesy of Capitol Records
by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

Like Stand by Me, a kids film for grownups
13 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

Most people are surprised when they find out about this film. The only one to blame for this is the studio, because the trailer, synopsis and the poster don't do it justice.

When it was released, most people probably thought it was a kids movie, so they skipped it. In fact this is a "kid's movie for adults" genre that had it's glory days from the second half of the 80ies (with the "all boys" Stand by Me) to the second half of the 90ies (with the "all girls" Now and Then). These movies (usually a grownup character's reminiscence of childhood days) are about kids, but their tribulations (although not always probable) are with the real world. This ain't no Goonies, but it isn't Dolores Claiborne either. These films were meant for us (the kids that grew up and now can laugh, with a certain nostalgic feel, about the adventurous moments of childhood).

Here, Danny has a very interesting main supporting role as a caring and sacrificing (if flawed) father of two boys during the day, and a host of a macabre kids show during the night. As it's predecessors, this movie also does some things right and some things wrong. It has many good and serious elements, and yet it is really sweet all the way through. This sweetness is created by great direction that menages to capture a nostalgic vibe, especially through 60ies classic rock soundtrack, special camera lance shading (like we're watching something from the past) and a sense of actual neighborhood and family community (a street where Danny and the kids live). Just in the "look" department, this film mostly resembles the look of 1993's film "Matinee" with John Goodman. The past we see here may be real or yet, just a way we want to remember it, but it does feel real enough and that helps in our occasional suspension of disbelief for the plot. On the other hand, this film is occasionally very melodramatic, often predictable (way way too much obvious foreshadowing) and sometimes not sure what it is (a serious drama or adventurous film). They could say they were going with recreating the real "life" (which is often a comedy and a tragedy) feeling with that one. Kids do a great job (especially the kid brother) and actors do make a wonderful (again if melodramatic) sense of family unity against all odds.

Long story short, this is a movie of "Stand By Me" kind and if you like the latter (or Danny) do watch this one.

They are not kids movies, but they are not real dramas either. They are the past that we can identify with because we feel it could (or should) have been our own.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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