Michael Keaton stars in Jack Frost as a loving husband and father who is also the leader of a blues band so horrifyingly unfunky that it makes The Blues Brothers sound like the second coming of Muddy Waters. Keaton's band inexplicably wows a major-label talent scout who promises to sign the band if it plays at a record-label party, but Keaton dies in a car accident before that can happen. A year later, he returns to Earth as a grotesque talking snowman so he can make peace with his sulky, depressed son. If that brief plot description makes Jack Frost sound like a seriously fucked-up film, it should. But words alone cannot convey what a monstrously misconceived aberration it is: It really needs to be seen to be believed. While many children's films are surreal by nature, revolving around anthropomorphic creatures, death, resurrection, and cosmic accidents, most at least allow viewers to suspend disbelief long enough for even the most outlandish plot to seem plausible. What makes Jack Frost so weird and unintentionally hilarious is that viewers are never afforded the opportunity to suspend disbelief for any length of time. Never does it seem natural, logical, or plausible that Cross would have sincere, heartfelt conversations with a giant, unnatural-looking talking snowman inhabited by the soul of his dead father. It just seems comically wrong. But rather than play up the inherent absurdity of Jack Frost's plot, director Troy Miller (of HBO's brilliant Mr. Show) and the film's four screenwriters shoehorn all these bizarre, surreal elements into a story so sadly derivative that it never strays far from willful self-parody. Jack Frost's juxtaposition of the absurd and the absurdly predictable results in a film that's frequently entertaining, but for the wrong reasons.
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