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Film / Jack Frost (1998)

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He's the world's coolest dad and he's gonna prove it!
Jack Frost is a 1998 family film directed by Troy Miller, starring Michael Keaton. Jack Frost (Keaton) is a workaholic rock singer. He is on the road most of the time, so he can't spend a lot of time with his wife Gabby (Kelly Preston) and son Charlie (Joseph Cross). He also constantly breaks/forgets the promises which he made to them. One evening, Jack decides to abandon his gig. He borrows his best friend (and the band's keyboardist) Mac MacArthur (Mark Addy)'s car to go home and spend the holidays with his family. Unfortunately, a bad storm begins, and due to the faulty windshield wiper, Jack crashes his car and is killed instantly.

One year later, the spirit of Jack finds himself reincarnated in a snowman's body. This is in order to allow father-son bonding that had never quite happened in Jack's human life.

Under no circumstances is it to be confused with an identically-titled Horror Comedy film that came out the preceding year.

This family film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: The harmonica really was magical, much to both Charlie and Jack's surprise.
  • Actor Allusion: Charlie has a poster of Superman with Batman's head. Michael Keaton had of course played Batman in two movies.
  • Back from the Dead: With a large side of Redemption Quest.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: When Jack comes back as a snowman, he's momentarily dismayed upon discovering that his new body isn't anatomically correct.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack reconciles with his son, but ultimately has to pass on.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jack is restored to his human form just once so he can say goodbye to his wife and son, before passing on.
  • Call-Back: The film opens with a snowball fight in the school yard, Charlie leading the children to win it. After Jack's death, the film skips a year later to another snowball fight. This time Charlie doesn't help.
  • Cassandra Truth: Charlie tries to explain to his mom several times that the snowman is really Jack, but she and Mac think he's gone nuts.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Twice. Jack has to miss a hockey game, but promises to make it up with a trip to the mountains for Christmas. But then Jack is called in to record songs that mean he won't be home for Christmas. He leaves early and tries to get home, but dies in the car crash.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jack. Even more in his snowman form.
  • Everytown, America: The film is set in the fictional town of Medford, Colorado.
  • Freudian Excuse: The bully Rory claims that he never knew his father.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: An early in the film after Jack returns home from the road, he and Gabby converse in their bedroom where she repeatedly rubs and kisses him while scantily clad wearing only a long tank top. That’s all that happens but the scene’s overall sensual nature feel out of place in a children’s film.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rory Buck is revealed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and ultimately helps Charlie get Jack to the mountains.
  • Heroic RRoD: Played for Laughs. When Jack discovers he's become a snowman, he tries to fool himself into believing he's past all fives stages of grief, when really, he's only transitioning from Denial to Anger.
  • Just for Pun: "Snow dad is better than no dad."
  • Lampshade Hanging: Jack himself questions why he came back as a snowman of all things, thinking that if it's because his name is Jack Frost then it's not very clever.
  • Lazy Bum: Mac MacArthur, Jack and Gabby’s best friend and the keyboardist of Jack’s band. He often visits the Frost household even after Jack's death, but spends most of his time sleeping on the couch. However Mac's laziness could very likely be mostly out of his own grief for Jack and possible guilt since it was his own car that Jack was killed in.
  • Mirror Reveal: Jack only finds out that he's become a snowman when he sees his reflection in the window after Charlie runs away from him in terror and closes a window shade.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gabby Frost is quite beautiful. What do you expect from a character played by the gorgeous Kelly Preston?
  • Papa Wolf: Armed with snowballs. And he knows how to use them.
  • Punny Name: Jack's last name is literally Frost.
    Jack: ...SIIIIIIIIIIID!!!
  • Reincarnated as a Non-Humanoid: Jack comes back in snowman form after his soul is placed in the one his son built a year after his death.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Natalie is the only girl on the hockey team.
  • Snowlems: Take a guess. Type II.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Jack manages to convince Charlie it's really him as a snowman by calling him "Charlie boy" (which is what Jack used to call him by). Gabby, however, doesn't believe Charlie when she tells her the snowman is her husband. That is until Jack calls her on the phone, nonchalantly asking her to come to the cabin in the mountains, and Gabby recognizes her husband's voice and obliges.
  • Spiky Hair: Rory Buck, The Bully, has spiky blond hair to show how hard he is.