Review by Mike Lee
As far as analyzing a film absolutely, Jack Frost has none of the elements of a good film and many elements of a bad one: a trite plot filled with cliches, two-dimensional characters, no aesthetically-pleasing screen shots, and boring dialogue. As a family film (a film to which a parent might consider taking a child), it fails to deliver any strong moral or theme.
This is the story of Jack Frost who decides to skip on a meeting that could jump-start his music career so that he can spend Christmas day with his son Charlie and his wife Gabby. Up until this point, the movie spends too much time developing the premise of the plot. The characters being portrayed are not overly complex or intricate and hence do not justify the time spent. If the characters were something more than simple two-dimensional characters, or if the movie had done a better job at creating the background dynamics between the family, then it might have been an interesting first act. However, as it stands with simple dynamics and characters, the movie could have presented the premise much sooner.
Unfortunately, Jack dies in a manner better left unsaid so as not to ruin it for the potential audience. There goes the one saving grace of this film, the acting abilities of Michael Keaton. This was a very powerful and emotional scene. There was no way to prepare for his sudden death even knowing beforehand that he must die. And although well done, this very disturbing scene has no place in a feature comedy or a family film, which brings me to a question that has plagued me ever since viewing this film. What is this film supposed to be? Who is it targeting? It fails the children, it fails the adults, it even fails the child-at-heart adults.
One year later, his son is still morose after his father’s death, and after building a snowman and playing a tune on the harmonica his father claimed was magical, Jack Frost returns to life as the snowman. The viewers have already prepared themselves for this suspension of disbelief, as it is the crux of the movie. However, the film could have done the scene of the transformation, the instillation of the life force of Jack Frost into the snowman in a much better way. Slapdash effects and camera work act comically together, but I doubt the movie attempted to have you laugh at it as much as with it.
After a short somewhat amusing discovery of their predicament, father and son then enjoy their limited time together. With no real direction, the movie is simply a series of unrelated events for the purpose of humor, bad humor with sub-par puns, puns that generally make people groan. And then when all the ideas for possible events have been exhausted, the film ends with cliches. This is where the lack of a strong concept for a story can lead to a weak ending.
What is the moral that can be garnered from this film? That it’s okay to skip on your responsibilities if it’s to have fun? Or that if you do so, you’ll end up dead? Or that death is nothing to take seriously because your loved one will reappear as a comical snowman with whom you can have loads of fun? Obviously, the attempt is something more endearing: that family is important; or not to take for granted your loved ones. But handled in such a trite manner, and with all these other possibly construed (however unlikely) themes presented, it can only add to the confusion in a young person’s mind.
The few laughs justify neither the time nor the money spent on viewing this film. This film is so hackneyed as to elicit laughter. This is not even worth a video rental. If it turns up on television, miss it and do something more productive like counting the tiles on your kitchen floor.
© 1998 Rotten Tomatoes