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Jack and Diane, two teenage girls, meet in New York City and spend the night kissing ferociously. Diane's charming innocence quickly begins to open Jack's tough skinned heart. But, when Jack discovers that Diane is leaving the country in a week she tries to push her away. Diane must struggle to keep their love alive while hiding the secret that her newly awakened sexual desire is giving her werewolf-like visions. Written by
Fans of "Times Square" (1980) and of its Director Allen Moyle might want to check out "Jack & Diane" for a little compare and contrast. The comparison should help them appreciate the many missteps Moyle could have made and credit his instinctive feel for making small films that connect with their target audiences.
"Jack & Diane" is not badly shot and the audio is good, so you can't explain the lameness away by calling it a student film. It is saved from being a complete embarrassment by it being so modest an effort with so little pretension. Thankfully there is no director's commentary although what could the writer/director of something this sterile possibly have to say? Unfortunately, being embarrassed for the cast and crew would at least constitute some degree of viewer involvement with the film and the story; however perverse.
In the absence of embarrassment there is simply nothing here to generate a response from a viewer. It is one of those extremely rare cases where the three-way dynamic between the artist, the work, and the observer simply does not occur; no connection is fused, nothing is engaged in the viewer. Or to put it simply, a example of how decent production and post-production cannot breathe life into something where the pre-production was so becalmed as to be sans pulse.
Juno Temple is a transcendent actress with the most interesting a face out there today. To the film's credit there are considerable extreme close-ups of her and sincere attempts by her at nonverbal character development; but nonverbal connections to the viewer only happen when the story has some basic coherence.
Once Temple was cast and the comedic potential of her stock airhead character was recognized (along with the almost scary talent disparity between her and her co-star), the answer for the screenplay's absence of life should have been obvious. Think Goldie Hawn playing off Charles Grodin. A little exaggeration in that direction (after all they were already going expressionistic with the effects) and they might have had something worthy of release, or at least something to justify its basic existence. Instead one is left to lament their failure to simply donate the budget to a local children's research hospital.
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