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Film / Jack (1996)

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A 1996 film by Francis Ford Coppola starring Robin Williams as a young boy named Jack who, due to an extremely rare disease that is never officially named, ages at four times the normal human rate. The film explores his unique situation, from being the only 10-year-old who can buy pornography, to being mistaken for his elementary school's principal, to all the medical problems he must face as his accelerated aging continues.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Robin Williams has played an adult Peter Pan (aka the boy who never grew up) with a son named Jack.
  • Alliterative Name: Dolores "D.D." Durante.
  • Artistic License – Biology: There is a rare disease called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, in which a child from an early age exhibits rapid aging of the body, but not the mind. The longest they usually live is to their early 20s. The movie disease seems to match this pretty well, save for the looking like a normal adult part. Depending on your interpretation, this may be justified by Rule of Symbolism and An Aesop about doing what you can with the time you have.
    • A doctor does specifically mention progeria, and that it's not what Jack has, stating that Jack's condition is completely unprecedented.
  • Award-Bait Song: Star by Bryan Adams.
  • Bar Brawl: Jack is mistaken for an adult and gets into a fight.
  • Big "YES!": Jack has to resort to this when his teacher asks him to repeat his answer one too many times.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's a Foregone Conclusion due to Jack's condition, but everyone he knows, including his parents, will sadly outlive him and he'll likely be dead before he turns 25. In the film's final scene, which takes place at his high school graduation, Jack, now physically resembling an elderly man, is named valedictorian and gives the graduation speech, saying not to worry about how short life may be, but to cherish it and live it to the fullest. He then rides off with his friends, having taken his own advice to heart and happy to enjoy whatever time he has left.
  • Cool Teacher: Jack's tutor, Mr. Woodruff.
  • Dirty Kid: Jack and his new friends bond over Hustler, which Jack can buy since he looks like a grown man.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: When Jack is depressed, he goes to the bar that Louis's mother mentioned to him. Jack is too young to drink in a bar, but because he looks old enough to be there, no one can tell the difference.
  • Express Delivery: Jack is born less than three months after his conception; due to his condition, he was already fully developed at that point.
  • Farts on Fire: The boys in the treehouse test this theory by having Jack fart into a can and one of his friends drop a lit match in it.
  • Foul First Drink: Jack's first reaction to a Shirley Temple cocktail is to spit it out, but he quickly gets accustomed to the taste and finds he doesn't mind it. The Shirley Temple is a rather sweet drink, which would explain why he keeps drinking (even though it's traditionally a non-alcoholic cocktail; adding booze makes it a Dirty Shirley).
  • Girls Have Cooties: Jack and the boys initially feel this way, and prevent Phoebe and Lucy from joining them in the treehouse by pelting them with water balloons.
  • Good Parents: Given the situation and circumstances, Jack's parents are practically saints.
  • Homeschooled Kids: Jack is one intermittently; his parents want to protect him.
  • I Warned You: Eddie says this to the boys when their combined weight causes the treehouse their were in to fall down, almost killing them.
  • Kiddie Kid: Jack acts a few years younger than his age, probably due to his sheltered lifestyle.
  • The Last Straw: After a good deal of build-up about the treehouse not being up to all the extra weight being put on it, it's finally sent crashing down when a butterfly lands on it.
  • Manchild: Inverted. Jack seems like this, but he's not a man who acts like a child, he actually is a child and looks like a man. So... ChildMan?
  • Mood Whiplash: Is both something of a fun kid-friendly comedy and an emotional drama.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dolores. She is played by Fran Drescher so it's a given.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: It was pretty much marketed as Big WITH ROBIN WILLIAMS!.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Jack's parents treat him like a younger child, perhaps in order to shield themselves as they face the reality of having to lose their son when he's still young.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Offscreen, but Jack's parents will outlive their child.
  • Precocious Crush: Jack doesn't realize that he is too young for his teacher, and after his heart is broken, he has an angina episode.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Rapid Aging: At a ratio of 4:1, most of the movie showing Jack at age 10 with the body of a 40-year-old.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jack, when he first goes to school.
  • Spit Take: Jack has this reaction at the bar upon drinking a Shirley Temple for the first time.
  • Tempting Fate: Upon realizing how many people are in the treehouse and it will cause it to collapse, Eddie warns the others about this. John-John replies that the treehouse is stable enough for all of them. That's when they immediately feel a rumbling around them.
  • Visual Pun: The pair of women sitting making derogatory comments about Jack's mother's weight at the start of the film are dressed as catgirls... they're being catty.
  • Younger Than They Look: Jack looks like a full-grown adult, but he’s actually ten years old.
  • Zerg Rush: Jack's schoolmates approach his house in waves, asking his mother to let him out to play.