1 hour, 33 minutes
Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages) is a shy, quiet guy. He frequently seeks escape in the soothing vibes of the reggae song, Rivers of Babylon. His best friend, Clyde (John Ortiz, Miami Vice), has conspired with his wife Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega, Flawless) to set Jack up with her guarded coworker, Connie (Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone). Despite some awkwardness at the dinner party, Jack and Connie hit it off and make a date to go boating in the spring. As the winter months pass, Clyde teaches Jack how to swim in preparation of his big date. Jack and Connie's relationship blossoms during this time, but it becomes apparent Clyde and Lucy had selfish motives for bringing the two together.
Jack Goes Boating is based on the Bob Glaudini play of the same name. Not so coincidentally, the play featured three of the four same actors. Despite having never played the character, Ryan seems as comfortable as the uncomfortable Connie as do her co-stars in their well-worn roles.
Jack Goes Boating relies on the mannerisms and expressions of these gifted actors to convey the true heart of the story. As director, Hoffman never misses the chance to capture those uneasy, heartfelt moments. There are times when the languid pace he sets becomes too protracted. At least, these times are accompanied by an excellent soundtrack. Granted, I wouldn't enjoy many of these songs on their own, but they fit well within the context of the story.
Aside from this quibble, the quirky romance of Jack and Connie, commingled with the messy marital issues of Clyde and Lucy, make for engaging entertainment.