Raindance Reviews: Jake Squared ★★★★

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Sundance alumni Howard Goldberg attempted to fund his third feature, Jake Squared, through Kickstarter, setting a goal of $50,000. His campaign failed on August 16th last year, reaching only $25,770. Despite this, Jake Squared has now premiered at the Raindance Film Festival to cheering audiences and rave reviews. It may even win the award for Best International Feature when the festival ends on October 6th.

The film follows 50-year-old Jake Klein (Elias Koteas), who’s trying to make a film about his love life, but keeps being interrupted by versions of himself – at 17, 30 and 40 – all trying to give him advice about past loves. He hires a young actor to play himself (Mike Vogel) but versions of the actor begin to appear as well, not to mention his teenage sweetheart, his new girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and his dead grandfather – it’s a crowded party.

Despite the number of characters and narratives, the film never becomes confusing or overwhelmed. Instead the audience is free to enjoy the loose structure and appreciate the comedy value in all the various embarrassing encounters.

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It’s an accomplished work comparable to that of Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York) with touches of Jewish humour from Seinfeld and co – impressively written and directed by Howard Goldberg. Impressive still that Goldberg managed to pull together such a handful of Hollywood heavyweights such as Oscar-nominee Virginia Madsen (Sideways), Ron Gilbert (The Usual Suspects) and Jane Seymour (Live and Let Die).

Sweet, funny and often philosophical, Jake Squared hits all the right buttons. There are no more screenings scheduled at Raindance, so fingers crossed for a release date! (we’ll keep you updated).

Click here for more information about all the screenings at Raindance Film Festival (25th Sept – 6th Oct).

Flossie Topping is the former Editor-in-Chief of Critics Associated (2013-2015). She has an MA in Film Theory and an MA in Online Journalism. She has written for Screen International, Grolsch Film Works, Universal Film Magazine, The London Film Review, Best for Film, Next Projection, Metropolitan, Don't Panic and The Ealing Gazette.