Jack the Dog (2001) Poster

(2001)

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A Brave Attempt At Depicting An Unpleasant Subject
rmack10 October 2001
I saw this at the Mill Valley Film Festival this past weekend. Writer/Director Bobby Roth addressed the audience at the screening. He candidly asked for our impressions and feedback as he is currently having trouble securing distribution for this challenging and unconventional film.

Shot in only 15 days on Digital Video, "Jack the Dog" chronicles about ten years in the life of the main character, the titular Jack, as he struggles toward maturity in regard to his relationships with women in general, and with his young son in particular.

Our protagonist, portrayed in a courageous performance by Nestor Carbonell (from television's "Suddenly Susan") is blessed with such great physical attractiveness that he is able to sleep with any women he meets whenever he chooses. Problems arise when he decides to try a committed marriage and finds that old habits die hard. Stated simply, Jack is a sex addict with a raging addiction.

It is to Roth's credit that the film deals effectively with this hot button issue without becoming judgemental or preachy. The characters feel multi-dimensional. The story ends in a way that feels honest and real. And there's some humor too.

There are however, problems with the pacing. A friend who saw this with me said the film feels a good twenty minutes longer than its current length. My guess is that this stems from the unusual structure that Roth chooses to employ (there's no comforting three-act template to fall back on here) and because we are given a lot of the story's information more than once.

So while "Jack the Dog" is far from perfect, I do give it points for attempting to deal with a less than savory subject in an honest and compelling manner. I'm a huge fan of Bobby Roth's 1984 film "Heartbreakers" which shares with "Jack" a willingness to examine the darker aspects of our connectedness with each other.

This film deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
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8/10
Interesting Movie, worth a watch
Al Hall1 February 2002
Not sure what I expected when I started watching this movie. But as the movie progressed it got more interesting. Jack like most guys is either with or wants to be with many ladies throughout his life. Most is for the physical but a child is produced by one relationship that eventually brings love, responsibility, and sense of purpose to Jack's life. It's kind of a Kramer vs. Kramer as the relationship develops with his child on one hand and his many sexual encounters continues unabated until his love and responsibility for his son override his desire to see still more women.

In the end his relationship with his parents which has been strained through most of his life gets comfortable as he see life more clearly as a responsible father.

Watch for some very good acting and the efficient way the movie is cut and the story told. My only real complaint is the sound quality was poor and I found it hard to understand the dialog at times. I had to back up the TIVO a number of times to listen to the missed dialog and a few times I was not able to understand what was being said.
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The Movie, The Dog
mario.dimaio14 February 2001
I saw this film because I was really sold on the description. I'm such a sucker. What starts out funny and light quickly dissolves into melodrama of the worst kind. (Did you see The Next Best Thing?) This is the director's self indulgent semi-autobiography. It has no depth. The sex scenes, though expectedly gratuitous, make the same statement over and over - Jack likes sex. They keep calling hottie Nestor Carbonell `Jack the Dog' long after we get the point. Nothing is funny. When Jack cries, you should feel for him, but all I could do was roll my eyes. I can't believe that this was only 85 minutes. It seemed much longer. A Swedish film I screened, The Restless, is everything this film is not.
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5/10
Boring
George Parker12 February 2002
See Jack take pictures. See Jack bang a babe. See Jack with his mom. See Jack bang another babe. See Jack with his wife. See Jack bang another babe. See Jack get divorced. See Jack bang another babe. Etc. Etc.

"Jack the Dog" is a crisp, clean, slick shoot with solid performances. "Jack the Dog" is also naive, simple minded, and shows us nothing we haven't seen many times before. Oh, and BTW, the cute little novelties (euphemism for brain farts), such as flashing Estella's name on the screen when Jack can't remember it, only serve to remind us we're watching a movie. This flick deserves and E for effort, a P for promise, and a B for boring.
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6/10
Guerilla film making and graphic sex. Better movie than I thought it would be.
nbasile27 January 2001
The movie starts out as just sex sex sex. And more graphic sex. It leaps too quickly years ahead in Jack's story. But, when it slows, it becomes a heartfelt, meaningful, insightful look into Jack's life. And Jack typifies the husband/father of the 90's. There are a few storylines that seem to distract. But the feel and flavor are wonderful. The best performances are by the child in the film. Watch him in the future.
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10/10
Fantastic piece of art
agnosiaman3 July 2001
I saw this movie at the Sundance Film Festival, and it move me to tears, not only during the screening, but for days afterwards. The film was deep and beautiful, and I enjoyed every moment of it. This is a poignant piece of a father's struggle to find what love means to him, a search which he completes not through his dog-like love of women, but for his son, a true and more mature love. Anyone who dislikes this film is simply too ignorant to comprehend its scope and depth. I thought it was well written, well directed, well produced, and the acting was top notch. I give it two thumbs way up.
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10/10
great show
rothbobby11 June 2005
This is one of those rare films that touch your funny-bone and your heart. It seems like a number of films (notably, 'About A Boy') have stolen from it, but that's probably the sincerest form of flattery. The acting is real and strong and the film-making is confident and innovative, though it's likely they had very little money as there are no dolly, crane, or steadicam shots. There are also an unbelievable number of attractive women in various stages of undress. Somehow this makes an interesting counterbalance to a show about divorce. The supporting players are all excellent. There are terrific cameos by Peter Coyote, Anthony Lapaglia, and Thomas Gibson. I very much liked the use of the black and white footage shot by the director, himself, in Paris. An added bonus for me was the soundtrack featuring two Bruce Springsteen songs which nicely compliment Pam Springsteen's black and white photographs. The original score by Christopher Franke is both stylish and moving.
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