Jack Frost

on December 11, 1998 by Mike Kerrigan
   For the first half hour or so, Michael Keaton plays Jack Frost, the leader of a rock group who's having trouble balancing imminent success and the responsibilities of family life with his wife (Kelly Preston) and his fifth-grade son (Joseph Cross). The leisurely set-up promises an engaging drama about parenting, with the bonus of discovering that Keaton has quite a way with a song.
   Then Jack turns into a snowman. Well, first he has to be killed in an automobile accident so that his spirit can return to inhabit a creepy-looking version of Frosty, with beady eyes of coal and even shifty eyebrows. Ostensibly, he's back to help his kid grow up and get over the loss of his father. But he's really there to help the filmmakers replicate the success of "Ghost" for the pre-teen set. That it doesn't is mainly because the movie is all over the place.
   The performances are okay, but the actors are not asked to stretch. Keaton is a stand-up snowman with a few off-color lines, presumably to keep the adults awake, but the creature, made by Jim Henson's people, is no Muppet. A big disappointment is the woeful underuse of Mark Addy, playing Keaton's best pal. There is barely a hint of his wonderful work in "The Full Monty".
   There are some entertaining action sequences, including a well-shot snow chase, a spirited snowball fight and some nice ice hockey action, but they don't make up for the hollow emotional center. A movie like this is supposed to make you laugh and make you cry, but "Jack Frost" just leaves you cold. Starring Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross and Mark Addy. Directed by Troy Miller. Written by Mark Steve Johnson & Steve Bloom and Jonathan Roberts & Jess Cesario. Produced by Mark Canton and Irving Azoff. A Warner release. Comedy/drama. Rated PG for mild language. Running time: 101 min
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