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||IMDB Rating: 4.5/10 from R votes
||Release: 15 August 2014 (USA) /
||Genre: Comedy, Drama
||Director: Howard Goldberg,
||Stars: Elias Koteas, Gia Mantegna, Jane Seymour, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Pendygraft, Kerry Stein, Kevin Railsback, Liana Liberato, Meredith Salenger, Mike Vogel, Ron Gilbert, Susan Traylor, Tanner Buchanan, Virginia Madsen, Yetta Gottesman
||Synopsis: Jake Klein, 50, sets out to make a movie. He hires an actor to play himself and throws a big party. His idea is to shoot the heck out of it and see what he gets. But, everything spins out of control as different, unexpected people show up. Old loves are there. New loves are there. His dead father, his mother when she was young, his kids, his ex-wife. Even his younger selves, Jake at 40, Jake at 30 and Jake at 17, are there, too! And every one of them has tons of advice on how to fix his screwed up life. Jake's head reels as he staggers through what's either a mystical experience, a nervous breakdown... or both! Written by Jake Squared LLC
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On the surface 50-year old Jake Klein seems to have it all. He has
loving children, a beautiful house, complete with a pool that sparkles
in the sunlight, as if filled with San Pellegrino, a classic Porsche
and a late-model Volvo. He has made films but to finance his lifestyle,
he has put his creative ambitions on hold and sells real estate.
However, Jake, played brilliantly by Elias Koteas, possesses and
increasingly expresses in full, his interior but soon frequently
exterior bouts with his existential joys and pain.
The root of the dilemma is Jake's inability, since he was a young man,
to sustain a romantic relationship. (He is divorced and slipping in and
out of a long-distance relationship with Sheryl (Jennifer Jason Leigh)
who lives with her child in "cold" Chicago, as opposed Jake's
perpetually sunny Los Angeles.
At the beginning Jake, speaking to the audience, tells his story
against the backdrop of a party at his house. The actor cast to play
Young Jake (an excellent Mike Vogel) brings a fine insouciance, to the
point of indifference, to the role.
Jake's confusion and consternationapproaching a nervous
breakdowngrows, and, the film's plot, set in motion, becomes quite a
lot of fun. Suddenly, surprisingly, more Jakes appear in the movie, on
the set, and into Jake's "real" life.
Goldberg and Koteas, work wonders with this conceitJakesat 20, 30,and
40. In less skillful hands, and with a less gifted actor, this would
not works at all, but here it works beautifully, and when it works
especially well, it is a delight.
We follow the "real" Jake's" struggle to come to terms with himself,
and the women in his life. This begins with our introduction to the
17-year-old Jake (Kevin Railsback), who refers to himself as Damien.
Railsback nicely captures the vanity and naivety possessed by teenage
Jake, as does his first love Joanne (Liana Liberato), who will morph
into an especially graceful Jane Seymour.
Visited by the ghosts of bedrooms past, Jake has ample opportunity to
express his desire for that one true, lasting love. This admission is
represented both comically and dramatically, but is best captured by
Jake's best friend, a remarkable sweet and accessible Beth (Virginia
To look deeper in the cause of his "inability" to love for any time,
Jake looks back to his parents, who also visit him. He sees their
55-year marriage as an ideal, so one does not have to be a Freudian to
suspect that his metaphor for authentic love, longevity, may not be a
perfect guide to life. That said, the appearance of his father and
grandfather are a particular treat, as old Jewish men intruding on
their child's/grandchild's life. Their visits are among the most
entertaining and revealing in the movie.
Jake's mother is kindness personified, so one has to look past the
surface to see what role, she played informing Jake's ambivalence not
only about commitment, but also about the nature of love. Is love
liberation of the soul or its confinement? Is the beast enjoyed best in
a cage, or chased into the unknown?
In the end, a kind of détente is reached between the different Jakes
and Jake himself. The sun shines both literally and metaphorically. No,
there is no sudden realization, no fixing on the right love, no deus ex
machinathat, if possible, will come in the sequel.
For now, the love that preserves Jake is self love, not damaging as
narcissism, but not liberating as Conrad observed, "Into the
destructive element immerse." One suspects Jake is determined to pursue
his ideal, and, whether or not he succeeds, is anyone's guess.
Two final notes: The first, Gia Mantegna is superb as Jake's precocious
but not jaded daughter. She steals every scene she's in. And, finally
worth noting is the music by Daniel Adam Day, which is light and
pleasant and works as an adhesive that keeps the Goldberg's tone and
manner intact throughout. The choice of Mr. Day was one of Goldberg's
many inspired decisions.
I recommend unreservedly this film for men of all agesbachelors,
Lotharios, fathers and sonsas well as women trying to understand
difficult men, but especially for couples who every so often catch a
glimpse of themselves in the mirror, and note something less than
perfect. Or those who look too closely at a photograph to find some
mote or imperfection.
Tags for Jake Squared Full Movie
, Gia Mantegna
, Jane Seymour
, Jennifer Jason Leigh
, Kelly Pendygraft
, Kerry Stein
, Kevin Railsback
, Liana Liberato
, Meredith Salenger
, Mike Vogel
, Ron Gilbert
, Susan Traylor
, Tanner Buchanan
, Virginia Madsen
, Yetta Gottesman
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