Jack Frost - *

Jack Frost

It’s hard to imagine the idea even looked good on paper. Mixing a live action Frosty-the-snowman adventure with a tragic father and son bonding story, Jack Frost is even more unappealing on screen.

Michael Keaton plays a blues musician by the unlikely name of Jack Frost. Jack selfishly places his career ahead of his wife, Gabby (Kelly Preston), and child, Charlie (Joseph Cross). But before this neglectful father has a chance to repent, he dies in a tragic Christmas Eve car crash.

One year later, young Charlie still hasn’t recovered from the loss of his dad. His fervent Christmas wish is to spend one more Christmas with his father. And, strangely enough, Charlie’s wish is granted.

But Jack doesn’t return to earth in the same form in which he left it. Instead, due to some cosmic comic streak, he returns as a walking, talking, magical snowman. But, any second chance is better than none, right?

The living snowman effects are handled with a mixture of puppets and computer animation. The result is much less than satisfactory. Too often, the snowman appears to be made of felt and styrofoam rather than snow. But even when the snowman is semi-realistic the result is an unintentionally creepy character, much more disturbing than lovable.

Michael Keaton, whose role is mainly devoted to voice-over work, at least tries to give the snowman as much life as possible. But, even Keaton can’t give life to Jack Frost’s frozen dialogue.

The plot somehow manages to include just about every snow-and-ice bound activity imaginable (excepting the luge). There are more snowball fights, snow forts, snow skiing, hockey games, ice skating, snowboarding, etc., than you’d likely see at the Winter Olympics. The trouble is, very little of these activities add anything of import to the plot.

One thing the film never quite gets around to explaining is why Jack is forced to return as a snowman. Is it some sort of karmic punishment for being a poor father? A cruel twist of nature? A bad joke? It was probably just a lazy screenwriter.

It’s difficult to comprehend the intended target audience for Jack Frost. Those old enough not to be terrified by its title creature are likely already too sophisticated for a movie of this caliber.

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