Directed By: Penny Marshall
Written By: David H. Franzoni, J.W. Melville, Patricia Irving, Christopher Thompson
Produced By: Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Tracey Ullman, Stephen Collins, Carol Kane, Annie Potts
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 100 minutes
Review Date: August 20, 2010
Jumpin’ Jack Flash is a typical ’80s movie: loud clothing, hi-tops, someone with an accent, terrible haircuts and off-colored language. But poor Jumpin’ Jack Flash put this lass to sleep on three occasions during the double viewing. One sits there wondering, Okay, when is this going to turn into a plot? Now…nope. Yet…negative. It’s tiring to spend a movie trying to figure out what’s already happened, let alone contemplate what’s about to go down.
We have Terry Dolittle (Whoopi Goldberg) an eccentric, crazy-dressed, loud-mouth woman working for a bank and sitting behind a computer all day. Dolittle expresses herself at this terribly boring position from the toys on her desk to the kicks she strolls in with. Her language and mannerisms makes her stand out on the streets of NYC and especially within the banking world.
Dolittle processes bank transfers from accounts. One day, she receives a cryptic message from someone named “Jack.” Jack is in dire need of help and needs Dolittle to perform secret duties to get him home safely (he’s in the British Intelligence). Like all good spy movies, the bad guys start targeting the poor civilian dragged into the situation. Enter James Belushi and a slew of Russian mobster-esque guys.
Soon, Dolittle doesn’t know who to trust and constantly fears for her life. But to keep the movie from getting too dramatic, Dolittle uses expressive language when in these types of situations. I highly doubt when you’re taken hostage, you actually mouth off to your attackers, but maybe that’s how they did things in the ’80s…
Among all of these computer interactions, Dolittle begins to fall for Jack, despite only hearing his voice. While this is true for any girl (read: John Mayer and Sean Connery… Oh, that’s just me…? Okay, then…), with today’s online dating, this is truly prehistoric. It’s kind of sad (and pathetic) to watch Dolittle continue to risk her life for the mysterious Jack (though I wholly blame this on Jack’s accent — those things can make anyone do anything).
Eventually, all is set with the likely hero you would expect. I won’t ruin it, but the minute the character comes on the film’s radar you immediately know he/she is going to be the one to help Dolittle.
Tons of cameos are in the film, which was the only thing I enjoyed. I won’t give them all away, but I definitely loved seeing Jon Lovitz on screen. But aside from this, the film is just a bore throughout. I’m not even sure potential could have been there, as none of the elements seemed to work as one. The actors cast just didn’t ring true in their roles, and the script was obviously not on anyone’s mind. Just like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Jumpin’ Jack Flash made me feel like “I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead.”
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.