Jake Squared (R)
Comedy 100 August 15th, 2014
The film's meta-narrative spins out of control after three more versions of Jake, two played by Koteas, inexplicably appear, and force him to see sides of himself he'd sooner ignore. Writer/director Howard Goldberg is so in love with his narrative's ensuing disjointedness that he never examines Jake's most endearingly eccentric observations, like when Jake Prime baits a bikini-clad ditz into admitting she thinks Jews control the world. Even the most introspective scenes, like the one in which Koteas's Jake Prime talks to an actress playing his mother (Meredith Salenger), try to foster intimacy through unproductively alienating confrontations. Jake sobs into his mom's arms, telling her that he wishes he was as happy as she and her husband of 55 years were. Goldberg shows Koteas, a versatile and charming performer, crying in an extreme close-up, then quickly cuts away, dumbly undercutting his performer's expressive body language. In spite of Goldberg's abundant chutzpah, Jake Squared isn't quite 8 1/2 for Rumi-quoting narcissists.