Jack Powell suffers from an affliction that makes him grow four times faster than normal, so the 10-year-old looks like a 40-year-old man. After years of being tutored at home, Jack convinces his overprotective parents to send him to public school. The children don't know what to make of Jack, but with the help of his fifth-grade teacher, he makes an effort to win them over.
_**Robin Williams as a 10 year-old; great cast, but needed a rewrite**_ The Powells in Oakland have a premature baby, whom they name Jack (Robin Williams). The problem is that Jack grows at four times the normal rate and so when he finally is allowed to enter 5th grade at the age of 10 he looks like a 40 year-old man. Diane Lane plays his mother, Bill Cosby his tutor, Jennifer Lopez his teacher and Fran Drescher a single mother who’s attracted to him. “Jack” (1996) takes the basic topic of “Big” (1988) and mixes it with the awkwardness of “Milk Money” (1994). It tries to be a serious drama, a slapstick comedy and a profound tragedy, which is tonally bewildering. Nevertheless, it would’ve been more successful if they worked out the kinks in the slapstick scenes, especially the ones with the kids, like the treehouse sequences. There’s nothing wrong with the cast or the filmmaking except that the script needed improved to flesh out the potential. As it is, I had a hard time buying that Robin Williams was a 10 year-old boy and the comedic scenes with the kids didn’t work for me, although they’re passably amusing. Thankfully, there are several things that make the movie worthwhile: Lopez, Drescher and Lane are thoroughly attractive and I especially enjoyed the scenes with Lopez and Drescher, like the bar sequence; Cosby is his likable self (before his fall from grace); and the second half is better than the unsure first half. Director Francis Ford Coppola proved that he could effectively do this kind of whimsical fare with “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986), but here he needed a better script. Still, some people love this movie (while critics like Siskel & Ebert tore it to pieces), so I suppose it’s a matter of taste. The movie runs 1 hour, 53 minutes, and was shot in areas just north of Oakland/San Francisco (Vallejo, Mill Valley & Ross). GRADE: C+