Row Your Boat (1999) Poster


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18 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Excellent and entertaining movie
karier134 September 2001
I am a big fan of Bon Jovi the group and of Jon's. This is the 4th of Jon Bon Jovi's movies that I have bought. I thoroughly enjoyed the others but this is really the first one that I stopped thinking of him as Jon and was rooting for "Jamey". From watching his first movies I can see an enormous growth in his acting ability. He was excellent as were the rest of the cast. Jamey was funny, sweet, considerate and loving. From the first of the movie Jamey is trying to go down the straight and narrow to get his life back on track after taking the fall for his brother. But the world and his brother seem in cahoots to bring him down. I will watch this many times as it was well worth the money!
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BeautifulyNsane14 June 2004
I liked this movie for what it was...I thought it was a nice little touch for Jon's movie career.(Seeing him as a bad guy recovering and trying to be good).I may have just liked it a lot because I like him a lot but I truly do think this is worth watching.Jon I think shows some acting skills in this and he shows that he can be an actor, not just a rockstar.The movie in itself had a good story.The characters were well-developed and it was a very easy and relaxing movie to watch.I enjoyed it and think you will too.I rated it as a ten because it is a good movie and I really liked it. As mentioned before by another person I think Jon is better being a bad guy like in Pay it Forward.(another good movie to check out)
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Don't miss this film!
hoarse22 February 2000
Row Your Boat is a drama but includes a lot of humour. Jon Bon Jovi proves yet again that he CAN act. This role was made for him and he is very relaxed playing Jamie Meadows. Jamie is an ex-con(serving time for a crime his brother committed)who upon release finds himself homeless. Promising himself to keep on the straight and narrow, he fights not only society but his brother. Meeting Spring Flower(Bai Ling) he has yet another reason to stay clean. In the end, it all depends on Jamie to do the right thing. Great film - don't miss it!
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An overlooked gem
Lyssie_Adams2 December 2004
This film was a real find. A truly engaging story and characters you can care about make this a far more rewarding viewing experience than many higher profile, bigger budget films.

Set in New York and dealing with an ex-con's struggle to go straight, this is a sweet, intelligent and moving film. Its central motif is the tragedy of the predicament that Jamey Meadows finds himself in - thoughtful and compassionate, his attempts to re-build his life are pushed down at every stage by his circumstances. The issues of the poverty cycle and the corruption of the vulnerable by the very people who should be protecting them are handled with care and insight, but without the cloying sentimentality so common in modern American cinema. Superbly written, though sadly poorly edited, this is a beautiful look at the struggle between idealism and practicality in today's world. This may sound heavy, but the script is peppered with humor and delivered with a lightness of touch that renders this a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The cast are commendable, both as individuals and as an ensemble, and the responsiveness of their performances in their interactions with each other lift this movie above the ordinary. Bai Ling's performance is a perfect balance of vulnerability and spiritedness, full of childlike innocence and wonder yet at the same time worn down by the seeming inevitability of life's disappointments. The biggest surprise however is Jon Bon Jovi as Jamey Meadows. Some of his other performances have been stilted and unresponsive, and even his well executed turn in The Leading Man falls short of being truly impressive due to his character's marked similarity to his own public face. In Row Your Boat, on the other hand, Jon Bon Jovi shines. A man of commanding presence and charm when fronting his rock band, Bon Jovi is utterly believable here as a slightly awkward down and out dominated by his older brother. His responsive and committed interactions with the other cast members are what set this performance apart from his others, and credit must be given to the director for drawing out such an impressive performance where other directors have failed.

In all, a gem of a movie which has sadly been overlooked. Its limited release is a real shame.
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A Gem of a Film
beckums6 July 2001
It's a shame that Row Your Boat did not receive a big theatrical release. It's the kind of quality story that's missing from the local cineplex. Each cast member does an astounding job with his/her character, especially Jon Bon Jovi. He is perfect as the sweet, sensitive, charming, and slightly insecure Jamey Meadows. Row Your Boat is a tale of love and morality. Jamey Meadows is an every day hero, struggling to do right when wrong is pulling at him. This film is one of the few worth the purchase price. It's the rare gem of a movie that will be watched over and over and get recommended to friends, family, and complete strangers at the video store.
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I bought the story, I bought the acting...
lauz-000-06-570525 June 2005
Personally, I'm a Bon Jovi fan. You could say that I'm in a way biased into liking this movie. The truth, however, is that I've never been too keen on Jon Bon Jovi's acting. In this movie however, I was strangely moved by the story and remarkably stunned by the acting. For once I can say that Jon Bon Jovi pulled it off, as well as Ling Bai, and the rest of the cast certainly didn't fall short. Honestly, I belived it. Many times in a movie regardless of how great the story is, you don't really believe the actors or the other way around. In this movie I found the story to be, although soppy at times, moving. I bought it.

It's definitely a movie worth watching.
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Lisa (momofmallory)16 June 2003
This movie is such a great story! It makes you cry and laugh. I was just tired after watching this one. I felt for the characters in the movie. Jon Bon Jovi is amazing in this movie. His acting is soo overlooked! HE is a total natural in this, you belive that he is this guy. Not some huge rockstar! I wish this movie had been given more credit. I have to admit yes Jon is totally my fav as far as music goes. I want to see him excell in acting! I would recommend this movie to everyone!!
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claudiashaft26 November 2006
You had to see the movie to have an opinion, right?

Don't you ever advise anyone not to see a movie, whatever movie it is, for how bad it is.

Movies are made to be seen by everybody, my friend. Worst than your comment is people who refuse to see movies based on others opinions. If you don't want to give money to see it in a theater, fine. And, god, it's an independent movie! As if movies without budget weren't discriminated enough in the cinema business, there are still people that come and say "Oh, I've seen it. S****, don't watch it! It's a friendly advise!" Hope you're not related to cinema in any way. If I judged every movie by the crew and their personal life's, wouldn't likely see most of Collin Farrel's starring ones!

The ones to thank you for that unfortunate comment are ignorants.
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Bitter Sweet Love Story
whpratt16 March 2006
Jon Bon Jovi,(Janey Meadow),"Cry Wolf",'05, played an ex-con who just got out of the Pen and wanted to go straight, find a job, fall in love with a gal, have children and a dream house to go a long with his dreams. Janey soon found out that being an ex-con was not very easy and he wound up sleeping in Flop Houses and even the outside. Janey had a brother that tried to help him get his act together, but Janey wanted no part of his brother's lifestyle. Ling Bai, (Chun Hua),"Edmond",'05, plays a sweet young gal from China who has a baby and gets very involved with Janey. This story has many twists and turns and it is best you get a box of tissues in order to view some parts of this down to earth love story.
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Excellent - strong performances; touching & moving
lapsus5327 May 2004
A great little sleeper movie, with outstanding work from the ensemble cast - especially Bai Ling (expected) and Jon Bon Jovi (less expected, but nicely impressive).

A very New York movie, kind of a "Mean Streets" love story. Bon Jovi plays an ex-con trying to get his act together; Bai Ling plays the unhappily married immigrant he falls for. William Forsythe is good as Bon Jovi's criminal brother. Jill Hennessy is funny & sexy (great wig!) as the girlfriend.

Some violence, and an unexpected ending I didn't see coming; also, some very droll, drily funny scenes with Bon Jovi's character as a census taker dealing with wacky New Yorkers - look for the corpse scene!

The strongest part of the movie is the love story between Bon Jovi's 'Jamey' and Bai Ling's 'Chun Hua' - which starts as a romantic comedy. Very funny dialogue in the teaching-her-English scenes.

All in all, a satisfying, gritty movie with strong relationships and a dire, unexpected plot twist. Worth a look!
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Yet more proof that some singers can act.
fix_me22 July 2002
I am not going to lie and say that this film is one of the most fantastic movies committed to celluloid (despite my childhood passion for Bon Jovi). What I will say is that this movie is very enjoyable. The script has some fantastic touches. Subtle humour and touching romance. Jon Bon Jovi once again proves that he can act. This is a good movie with a lot more to offer than just eye-candy for old rockers like myself.
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Very good acting!
dperkin227 June 2001
I have been a fan of Jon BonJovi's music career for 17 years. So, I know his acting is very good when I watch a movie and half way through I'm no longer thinking of "Jon do this! or Jon tell her!" it became "Jamie do this or Jamie tell her". Which I thought had to be good acting on Jon's part to make me Temporarily forget he is JON BON JOVI (only till the end of the movie). The script was very good also.
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A nice surprise
Mike Garcia23 March 2011
I found this film on a videostore some years ago,I must admit that that I rented the movie because I am a great fan of the bon jovi's music..the quality of the film it was a great surprise for me, i expected a good movie but I found an amazing film..The Jon Bon Jovi performance is brilliant, his character reminds me to the losers that Paul Newman used to play on movies like the hustler or sweet bird of youth. Bai ling plays her character with a honesty and innocence that makes impossible not to love her and feel what Jon feels about her, William Forsythe plays the character of the troublesome brother, and he is awesome on it, you never know what to feel about this character if love or hate, his performance is great, and I also like to mention Jill Henessy, she shines on the film as the girlfriend of William Forsythe character. The movie is directed by Sollace Mitchell masterfully...The scene on the park when James(Bon Jovi) teach chun(Bai ling) to curse on English is a good example about what good cinema is is a small film, unpretentious,but with good intentions and full of sincerity. A story about characters of what is lacking today's cinema..a hopeless tragedy, a story of an impossible love, the kind of stories that makes cinema great.
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For Once, A Decent "Dollar Store DVD"
MetalGeek11 December 2006
I bought ROW YOUR BOAT on DVD at my local Just-A-Buck dollar store almost a year ago and it sat on the shelf unplayed till this past weekend. I had picked it up mainly for my wife, who still carries the torch from her teenage crush on Jon Bon Jovi. I had never seen Jon in an acting role before, but I'll admit that I was pleasantly surprised by his abilities. (However, I have always HATED his fluff-rock band, and I suppose I always will!) Jon stars here as an ex-con who's determined to walk the straight and narrow path after his parole. When we first meet "Jamie" (Jon), he's spending his nights at flophouse hotels or on the streets of Manhattan and trying to avoid the temptation to go back to work for his brother (a genuinely slimy William Forsythe), a small time hoodlum who was the cause of Jon's imprisonment in the first place. Jamie takes a low paying job as an "enumerator" for the US Census Division, which leads to many funny scenes as he trots around bad New York neighborhoods trying to count the various occupants. His census job brings him into contact with a lovely but unhappy Chinese woman (Bai Ling), who is basically a "trophy wife" for a much older Chinese businessman. He offers to give her English lessons and they begin a wobbly but romantic relationship, while his brother's "business" begins to tempt him back into the fold. I'm not going to proclaim this is a great movie but I did enjoy its combination of romantic comedy and crime drama, and the ending is not the one that I'd expected/hoped for. Add in some cool shot-on-location scenes from the gritty side of New York City and you have a cool little film that was definitely worth the dollar I paid for it, which is not something I can say about most of the other "Dollar Store DVDs" in my collection.
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Very Good
ADZ16 August 1999
This movie is very good to watch especially for the whole family. I'm not sure why in my country this film was categorized as over 18 years old movie. I think the plot of this film is simple but the actor and actress was very good in action. Jon Bon Jovi was done so well and I surprised he doing very well because he actually is a singer. His 'brother' and Ling Bai also very good in action except less in conversation between Ling Bai and her family.
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Nice little movie
rthibes17 February 2004
"Row Your Boat" is an underrated Jon Bon Jovi's movie. It won't change the world or run for the Oscars, but it's a nice and sweet piece of entertainment.

Although is hard to believe that the rockstar Jon Bon Jovi could be a homeless man coming out of the jail, when he starts the romance we all believe that there's the guy who wrote "Always", "Never Say Goodbye" and "I'll be There For You". Jon is always better when he does the loser characters (like "Destination Anywhere" or "Pay It Forward").

I think people should give a chance to this one.
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So wrong in every way possible!
killers5426 December 2006
Jon Bon Jovi is the only reason i watched this. And its only because i was positive he would have a sex scene and i wasn't gonna shy away from that action. But that never happened! Instead i had to sit through an hour and a half of actors (and singers) trying to act! This was unbelievable in every way! I hated it! No one could save this movie! Not even William Forsythe could save this film! Bai Ling?! What a joke! Nutcase! If you want junk but good junk watch "Scream for Help" at least thats laughable, this film only induces vomiting. Bon Jovi is a real jerk, i would have to say. I used to love him! But this piece of junk made me hate him! Sorry, but this movie ticks me off. What also grinds my gears is the fact that i got this for a Christmas present!
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Don't Waste Your Time...
autumnsweater17 July 2004
This film has to be one of the biggest loads of garbage that I have ever seen. I mean, please... Bon Jovi as an actor? Give me a break! The storyline suggested could have been interesting, but it turned out to be anything but. The whole thing is so overly-dramatic that it's almost humorous. Not to mention how completely unrealistic and implausible it is. The characters are just your typical stereotypes, "the hard-done-by ex-con trying to change his ways", "the criminal-older-brother who tries to lead him back to a life of crime", "the immigrant who is unhappily married"...etc. The outcome was all too predictable. Don't waste your time watching this film. You'll thank me, later.
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