There are so many films that come out during the year, and generally, they’re all decent enough to sit through. Watching Jake Squared might honestly give you the biggest WTF moment of your life because I’m convinced that even the director couldn’t figure out what kind of movie he was trying to make. There are unfortunately not enough words in the English dictionary to describe how awful this film truly is.

Jake Klein (Elias Koteas) is making a movie. He hires Mike Vogel to play him, then decides to throw a party that includes hot tubs and stereotypical ditzy girls in bikinis just because he can. Why is Jake making this movie? Well, your guess is as good as mine because it’s never made clear why Jake is really doing anything. The movie begins to get confusing about a few minutes in when several Jakes, not Mike Vogel’s portrayal of him, come crashing into his party and disrupting every aspect of his life and movie.

There’s Jake at 17 (Kevin Railsback), Jake at 30, and Jake at 40, and of course the present Jake at 50. If this isn’t confusing enough (and director Howard Goldberg should really rethink the title), all this is happening in real time. No, it’s not a hallucination, a dream, or any kind of mental disease. It seems all these different versions of Jake have come to crash the party to ultimately give him love advice on which girl he should have chosen and possibly bring him happiness.

Nothing in the last sentence doesn’t happen until the last ten minutes of the film and we spend so little time with his exes (Jane Seymour and Susan Traylor) and current possible love interests (Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Jason Leigh) that the whole story seems contrived, uninspiring, self-indulgent, boring, confusing, and every other horrifying adjective you can think of to fill in the blank.

So disturbingly awful is this film, that Virginia Madsen, after about ten to fifteen or so minutes into the film, has to explain everything that happens in the beginning. At that point, we don’t know who she is, how she fits into the story, or anything about her. But the fact that the movie literally stops to give us a recap of what came before is truly astonishing, proves that this film is awfully confusing, and discredits and insults itself all in one scene.

Also, instead of an actually well-written script, Goldberg relies heavily on quotes from different people that get tossed around by the characters in conversation. This lazy writing technique replaces actual dialogue and character interaction, which is pretty much nonexistent to begin with. Everything is a jumbled mess, like the movie is stuck in a maze and keeps getting lost along the way to the end. It tangles itself up so much in the beginning that it becomes incoherent, random stacked on top of random.

Jake Squared is one of those films you will be glad you never watched. It’s a sham and awful filmmaking at its best. The movie goes from bad to worse the longer it goes on and completely wastes some of its cast, while others are terrible in their roles. It’s a headache-inducing nuisance that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. The characters and their terrible conversations, or lack thereof, are contrived and Goldberg doesn’t really bother to make sense of any of it. One of the worst films of the year.



About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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