Friday, September 18, 2009
Jack; Fantasy tragicomedy, USA, 1996; D: Francis Ford Coppola, S: Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Brian Kerwin, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher
Karen is very surprised when, already in her 2nd month of pregnancy, she gives birth to her baby, Jack. The scientist diagnose that Jack's cells are aging 4 times faster then normal. That's a problem for him, since at the age of 10 he already looks like a 40 year old. His private teacher Woodruff suggests his parents to let him attend a public school. Jack is of course much larger than other children, but manages to blend in, exceeding in basketball. His curiosity leads him to an adult club where he starts a fight and lands in jail. He accepts school and with 17, when he is already grey and looks like 68, finishes high school and goes to party with his friends.
This unusual fantasy drama about transience, handicap and acceptance of unusual outsiders has an undoubtedly excellent idea about a child that ages 4 times faster than usual, but all other details built around it are problematic. Into solid "Jack" director Francis Ford Coppola inserted a lot of personal details and metaphysical touches, but the story's crushing sentimentality and pathetic tone somehow seem more apparent, inevitably bringing it down. It's a paradox that at some parts the concept was exploited well (for instance, Jack buys porno-magazines for his kid buddies or pretends he is their principal) but for the majority of the film it wasn't, since the authors instead decided to waste much more time on flat observations or vulgar jokes, like when kids eat earthworms with mayonnaise. Robin Williams is all right as the main hero and moderately amusing, though some viewers may find his antics annoying and forced. There's some spark of miraculous here, but it wasn't ignited into a real flame.