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A Kid Like Jake poses some truly interesting possibilities -- many of which are lost in its overly cautious approach to an admittedly sensitive subject.
All Critics (45)
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It's a daring premise, which makes Howard's fluffy approach to the material all the more frustrating.
But the filmmakers seem to hold back from other confrontations, and their subplots involving the boy's pushy grandmother (the great Ann Dowd) and a brittle client (Amy Landecker) of the therapist father ultimately fizzle.
The movie's premise sounds like it should be the basis for a barbed satire of the finest proportions. Instead, it opts for a tone that is decidedly sober and lacking any kind of sharp edge.
Some of this material is too sensitive, granted, to have a very young actor play it. But "Jake" goes too far the other way, giving us only glimpses of the boy, who emerges as more of a symbol than a real child.
It's like the Alex-and-Greg of woke-era problem pictures: bright, earnest and compassionate, if maybe just a little too much in its own head.
An authentic, conversational messiness we rarely see on screen.
A Kid Like Jake is not a revolutionary film by any means, but one of the best things about it is that it's not trying to be.
It's well acted, but you never fully feel the narrative weight of the story.
It's a demonstration of a parent's most innate instinct: to protect their child, while also intimating that love and understanding is the ultimate protection.
Watching adults complicate an already complicated situation is good theater, but what A Kid Like Jake needed more of was childlike wonderment. With it, it could have been a film with deeper impact, not just a conversation starter.
Dull and lifeless filmmaking about dull and lifeless people.
A Kid Like Jake dances around its central subject.
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