If you could have a chat with your younger self, what would that younger version say? Would he/she be disappointed or proud? What words of wisdom would you give yourself now? That’s exactly what happens in the new comedy “Jake Squared.” Jake Klein is a 50 year old filmmaker who decides to throw a party while making a film about himself when he was young. He hires a drop-dead gorgeous and chiseled young man to play this role and the two begin to film the movie at Jake’s home. (Now, don’t hold that against Jake. Who would YOU hire to play your younger version? I’d pick Kiera Knightley) As the filming begins, confusion ensues, but in a completely entertaining way. Jake appears to have many forms of his younger self appearing at different times, interacting with everyone and yielding many different reactions! Are these people real? Is Jake having a nervous breakdown? Or is he just trying to sort through his complicated love life and past decisions?
“Jake Squared” is absolutely hilarious while it still asks very important questions about life and how this character has chosen to live it. Jake’s teenage daughter seems to have it more together than he does. Many of their interactions are that of a typical father-daughter, but sprinkled into the mix is great maturity and knowledge on the part of Sarah (Gia Mantegna). There’s not a moment in the film that doesn’t entertain or enlighten you. This is a smart comedy, happily pulling the viewer along, requiring you to pay close attention so you don’t miss any key elements. Jake and his best girl friend, Beth (Virginia Madsen) frequently talk to the camera to break into the viewers’ world, helping you to decipher what is happening to Jake and why he has such a complicated love life.
Elias Koteas has the arduous task of playing Jake. He’s also Jake at 40 and Jake at 30. Having a conversation with these other versions in the same room was sheer perfection. You truly believed that these other Jakes were there to question and at times antagonize Jake (50). Throw in another version of himself at 17 (played by Kevin Railsback), a deceased father and grandfather as well as a young version of his mother to help him figure out why he can’t commit to love, and you have glorious chaos. The conversations that these characters have with the Jake at 50 are really quite amazing. He finds out information about his parents’ relationship as well as his own foibles. He is unlucky in love, but maybe with a bit of “neurotic introspection” as Howard Goldberg, writer and director of the film termed it, he’ll figure it all out perfectly.
The entire cast in “Jake Squared” harmonizes together perfectly, never hitting a sour note. The timing and interactions enable this film to be more than funny; it strikes a chord in your own life. Jane Seymour resonates beauty, grace, and love in her role as Joanne. It is Madsen’s character of Beth, Jake’s best friend with whom he shares his true thoughts and feelings, that completes the complicated circle of friends and family. She is the epitome of a best friend of the opposite sex. We can easily read her feelings as she and Jake talk, but Jake is so consumed by the strange events occurring that he is blind to what’s right in front of him. Madsen portrays that inner struggle perfectly. And I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hot tub scenes focusing upon Mike Vogel as the young hired actor Jake.
“Jake Squared” is a fast paced, comedically intense film which capitalizes on the energy and talent of not only the cast but also the succinctly written script. This is a very complicated story, but at the heart of it all it is really quite simple. It’s about a high energy and confused man trying to find love and not make any more mistakes that he might regret. Following the story-line feels a little difficult, but rest assured the loose ends are all neatly tied up for a completely satisfying film. ”Jake Squared” is one of the most creative and unique films I’ve seen in a long time. How many films have you seen that can make you laugh, sigh with empathy for a situation, nod your head in understanding, feel like the actors are addressing you from the screen, and make you think about your own life and decisions? My guess is, not many. Check out “Jake Squared” and enjoy the roller coaster ride of life. Then ask yourself, “What would my younger self say to me?”
You can see JAKE SQUARED on DVD, iTunes, Amazon or stream it for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.