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Jack Frost

Starring Michael Keaton,
Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross and Mark Addy
Screenplay by Mark Steven Johnson and Steve Bloom & Jonathan Roberts
Directed by Troy Miller
website: www.wb-jackfrost.com

IN SHORT: Vidflick.

So there he is, the single, childless Cranky, in a theater filled with single parents and single digit kidlets, all present to see Jack Frost, a holiday family flick starring Michael Keaton, based on the song "Frosty the Snowman". While Frosty is mentioned in the flick, Cranky guesses legalities forced the name change, which doesn't explain how the suits at the production company missed the fact that there was a slasher flick called Jack Frost a year or two back. Critics I talked with later would have put the knife to this flick's throat too, but that would be an unkind cut. This Jack Frost is two stories in one, and while the intent is to balance a gee whiz kidflick with a more substantial adult heartstring tugger, the net effect is more schizophrenic than anything else.

I'm being nice. Stevie Nicks' song "Landslide," featured prominently in this film, will put Cranky into tears at the slightest push. Jack Frost pushes the proper buttons (that's the adult stuff I mentioned) and you know how I hate that . . . <g>

Jack Frost (Keaton) is a struggling musician, doing the club and bar circuit out in Colorado. He has a beautiful wife named Gabby (Kelly Preston) who he loves, and who tolerates the musician's hours. He has a ten year old son named Charlie (Joseph Cross) who he loves, but continually disappoints by breaking promises to attend things like hockey games. For the first hour, Jack Frost nails it to the workaholic parents, and has little in it to interest the kidlets, save the promise of effects yet to come.

Without giving anything not in the trailer away, Keaton's character is tastefully blown off in a car accident and through the use of a "magic" harmonica, his spirit is instilled in a large snowman, which comes to life. It is a year later. Charlie is still feeling the effects of missing dad, despite the efforts of family (and Jack's best) friend Mac (Mark Addy) to lend an ear. Everyone thinks Charlie's gone off the deep end when he starts talking to, and lugging this snowman around. "Jack" is dealing with the oddities of being built of snow and sticks, and makes the most of this last chance to bond with his kid.

Why he, essentially, ignores his wife is a question best left to the screenwriter. If the story wanted to maintain its bullseye targeting on us old folks, that would have been an important element to include. But Jack Frost has, by this time, shifted to a kidflick with effects and the four year old in front of me was pleased no end. Her mom labels the flick "good family fun" but Cranky thinks it's best left to video, so kids can get right to the good parts. Those effects, by the A-level Henson Creature Shop are just B-level for adult viewing. Single digit kidlets will have no problem. Double digit subteens get pieces of new Hanson songs and a DJ on the film soundtrack who promises to play songs (like "Hot in the City") that don't show up in the background. Maybe on the CD...

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Jack Frost, he would have paid...

$3.00

Rent it. Jack Frost is a flick that will find its mark on the vid shelves, as parking material for kidlets. The full blown soundtrack CD features three new songs by Hanson, and will find its way into the ears of teen screamers by a different route. For single adults like Cranky, this is a definite pass.


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