Jack

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The Francis Ford Coppola signature, usually reserved for personal projects, doesn't appear to square with what looks like another excuse for Robin Williams to do his infantile routine. The plot conceit has Williams as a lad, Jack, whose over-active metabolism masks a 10-year-old in the hairy body of a 40-year-old man; but in taking the time to explore this scenario in genuine human terms, Coppola delivers an ungainly but undeniably arresting hybrid. While the film's too mature for the kids' audience, its juvenile slapstick trappings - collapsed chairs and the like - may blind grown-ups to the deeply felt emotions at its core. Jack's dispatched to school for the first time, and the way he wins over his alarmed classmates proves refreshingly clear-sighted: he can buy porn mags, light his farts, and dominate the basketball court. It's good to see a movie in touch with such realities - though Bill Cosby's sticky turn as Jack's kindly tutor should have been cut at script stage. Where things switch up a gear, however, is in the confrontation with the adult world, for an ill-fated attempt at wooing teacher introduces Jack to a confusing arena of failed relationships and sexual hang-ups, while a simple 'What I want to be when I grow up' assignment impresses on him the sobering burden of time: when his chums are twenty-something, he'll be approaching his century. The star, kept under firm control, grates less than usual, though you wouldn't come to 'a Robin Williams movie' for what you get here: a divided soul, and just possibly Coppola's most honest movie in years.

Release details

Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenwriter: Gary Nadeau, James DeMonaco
Cast: Robin Williams
Diane Lane
Brian Kerwin
Jennifer Lopez
Bill Cosby
Fran Drescher
Michael McKean