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Jack the Bear (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 2 April 1993 (USA)
Danny DeVito is John Leary, 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 ... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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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
...
Gordon Layton
...
Mrs. Festinger
Lorinne Vozoff ...
Mrs. Mitchell
Justin Mosley Spink ...
Dexter Mitchell
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Storyline

Danny DeVito is John Leary, 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.) Leary's conscience, and a quantity of alcohol, leads him to denounce a neo-fascist candidate on his children's TV program, 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

Taglines:

Laugh. Cry. Hold on tight.

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:

El pequeño papá  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,145,462 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul McMichael was an original choice to play Edward Festinger. See more »

Goofs

Jack refers to the Oakland A's after they won the '72 series as the 'Amazin A's'. The actual nickname was the 'Swingin A's' See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jack Leary: I thought I knew all about monsters. I used to watch them late at night on Dad's TV show. After we moved to Oakland, he stopped doing kid's shows, because he was different now. Everything was different. Now he was Al Gory, monster of ceremonies at Midnight Shriek.
See more »

Connections

Features Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream Lover
Written by Bobby Darin
Performed by Ricky Nelson (as Rick Nelson)
Courtesy of Epic Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very touching
30 September 2002 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

"Jack the Bear" is a touching, underrated piece of cinema with fine performances all-around. Danny DeVito gives one of his best performances, combining his knack for comedy with his knack for serious drama. His character rings very true to life. Many people who seem extremely happy and always crack jokes are actually hiding tons of emotion baggage. Just look at most comedians. How many of them live clean, happy lives? DeVito's character, John, knew how to make people laugh and smile, but the only one who could see what's hiding behind his smile is his eldest son, Jack. I know people like John, who are almost always cheerful, but later on I found out they're really crying on the inside.

DeVito steals the show, like he usually does, but the rest of the cast is superb as well. The boy who plays the son is quite good, though his emotional outbursts are sometimes hammy. Miko Hughes, who was terrific in "Mercury Rising" with Bruce Willis, delivers a wonderful performance even though he hardly says a word throughout the film. His facial expressions and body language, especially considering how young he was, is impressive enough. Reese Witherspoon shows that she was just as cute and charming back then, as she is now (everyone should check out her very first film, "Man in the Moon"). Gary Sinise gives one of his most creepy, powerful performances as a racist Nazi loner, who threatens the children in the neighborhood. The scenes with him are extremely compelling, almost heart-stopping.

This is a fascinating, uplifting story that's only sometimes manipulative. I was very touched, and some scenes even brought me to tears. John is the type of character you feel much sympathy for, despite the fact that he's an alcoholic and tends to cause a scene. You feel even more sorry for him because of that. We don't want to see his life go through this downward spiral. Yet nobody's perfect. We all have our fatal flaws.

My score: 8 (out of 10)


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