Jack (1996)

Last seen making trashy vampire movies, Francis Ford Coppola 
directs this low-powered, light-hearted drama about a boy with the 
body of an adult.  Sound familiar?  This time the magic is medical:  
an infant who is growing at four times the rate of normal.  Cut 
ahead to age ten and Jack Powell, played by Robin Williams, looks 
like your average forty-year-old adult.  (Or, with those hairy 
arms, your average forty-year-old lumberjack.)  Jack is a boy in a 
suburban bubble.  He's tutored at home, his mom doesn't work, and 
he's given everything he wants, *except* the chance to play with 
kids his own age.  So what happens?  Jack Goes to School, where he 
experiences a bunch of new things, from alienation to acceptance 
to, finally, awareness about himself and his condition.

Though ultimately unsuccessful as a message movie-- the moral of 
the story is...  people get old?  Well, duh-- JACK is endearing 
enough.  And entirely recommendable.  Given plenty of room to act 
his age, Robin Williams delivers a performance that is warm, funny, 
and far from ingratiating.  No Oscar baiting here; not in a movie 
featuring such frivolity as fart lighting.  (Suggested story idea 
for CHAIN REACTION 2:  Keanu Reeves spends two hours fleeing his 
own flatulence.  Sorry.)  The pokey pacing, however, makes for a 
bit of a long sit.  As does the occasionally gushing sentiment and 
the ever-dawning realization that the story isn't going anywhere in 
particular.  Except, perhaps, as fodder for the next Mel Brooks 
spoof.  (Suggested title: LARGE.)  With strong supporting work from 
Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, and Michael McKean.  (Rated "PG-13"/113 

Grade: B-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted in triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: August 4, 1996

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