Jack Frost
Rating -

Comedy/Drama (US); 1998; Rated PG; 101 Min.

Michael Keaton: Jack Frost
Kelley Preston: Gabby Frost
Mark Addy: Mac MacArhtur
Joseph Cross: Charlie Frost
Henry Rollins: Coach Gronic

Produced by Irving Azoff, Matthew Baer, Jeff Berry, Mark Canton, Richard Goldsmith and Michael Tadross; Directed by Troy Miller; Screenwritten by Mark Steven Johnson, Steven Bloom, Jonathan Roberts and Jeff Cesario

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Written by DAVID KEYES

How does one review such a movie? How can one possibly critique a film like "Jack Frost" without themselves freezing on the spot? The movie is simply bad bad bad. It's easy to write about bad movies, because the words of hatred flow so majestically and gracefully from your thoughts that sometimes, you don't want them to end, just so the bad movie gets everything it deserves. But with "Jack Frost," our words are frozen. How can we bring ourselves to describe the despicable mess that Michael Keaton has gotten himself into? We love this man's ability to be so gifted and great in his acting. To hate one of his movies so much is to hate him personally.

It's not really his fault, either. It's not his fault that the snowman that replaces him halfway into the movie is so hideous that it makes Godzilla look original. What the filmmakers have done to his career here is stepped on it and kicked it out the door for someone else to handle. Didn't they realize that they had a superstar on their hands? Didn't they even grasp the notion that this was the only actor brave enough to survive more than one "Batman" film? Either the people who made "Jack Frost" have been living under a rock for the past twenty years or they knew what they're doing but just didn't care. Either way, maybe they should never incorporate a special effects creature in their movies again.

Now let's discuss that snowman. He's disgusting. He's ugly. He's so contemptible that it's literally the most nasty thing that special effects has ever created. I'm not joking. He's uglier than Godzilla, uglier than Pumpkinhead, and heck, he's even uglier than that lumpy-headed alien in "Bad Channels." Why, you ask? Well, he's a snowman with coal eyes, a carrot nose, no legs, and yet, he walks and talks. He has a big mouth, and stick arms that move really fast when he's throwing snowballs. How does this all look on screen? Don't even ask.

The story revolves around Keaton (and whaddaya know, his real name is Jack Frost!), a musician whose life is so busy that he can't care for his son, Charlie, in a way that he wishes he could. One of the film's earlier outside shots has Jack and Charlie in the snow, and the backdrops of the whole scene look so obvious and artificial that it's almost as if the filmmakers edited close-ups of a Barbie doll complex into the scene to save money and time.

Somewhat soon after that scene, Jack is killed on the road on Christmas day. Charlie and his mother mourn. They mourn for one long year. Then Charlie has a problem with a bully at school. He goes to his father's old harmonica and plays it. Ironically, Jack winds up alive again in the front yard, as that dang walking, talking snowman. At first, Charlie is frightened. Then he grows on him. The two develop that relationship that they didn't quite have when Jack was alive and in human form. They bond. They have snowball fights. They do everything they can think of to determine how they can beat this bully. Never once does Charlie even ask about what the afterlife is like. They say that if people really did return from the other side, the first question would be "what's it like." Sorry, Charlie. Whatever you do, don't become a journalist. Even Barbra Walters would get frustrated with you.

I honestly don't think that a Michael Keaton movie can get any worse. It's usually an actor's fault for making a movie feel and look so bad; they are the screen presence, and they determine how we should feel for the characters they play. Keaton looks like he doesn't care about what fate has in store for him. To become a snowman a year after your death is a deficient idea. Have you ever thought about what would happen if you came back as one in 100-degree heat?

1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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