As a touring musician clinging to dreams of stardom, aging rocker Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) never had much time for his wife, Gabby (Kelly Preston), and young son, Charlie (Joseph Cross). A year after Jack’s tragic death in a car accident on Christmas Day, Charlie plays a mournful tune on his father’s harmonica. Much to his surprise, the elder Frost is magically brought to life as a snowman on the family lawn. Given a second chance, Charlie and Jack struggle to make up for lost time.
Do you have that one movie that you remember watching as a young kid and absolutely loving it and thinking it was so much fun to watch, and then you grow up and think to yourself “How in the world did I ever like this movie?” Well, for me, one of those movies is 1998’s Jack Frost, directed by Troy Miller.
This movie would always air on television during the month of December and I remember being at home for Christmas break off of school and watching this movie at least once every year close to Christmas. I thought it was a blast. It has a talking snowman, really good music and it always put me in the holiday spirit.
As I was scrolling around looking for a movie to watch today, I stumbled upon Jack Frost and was immediately hit with a wave of nostalgia. This film used to be on in my house every year, and as funny as it may sound, I don’t remember anything about the movie. So, that’s why I decided to put it on and see if it was even remotely as good as I remember it being. It’s not.
It was fairly obvious that this movie was going to be considerably worse than I remember it being within the opening five minutes alone when I saw Michael Keaton singing on stage. Keaton is probably in my top fifteen favorite actors of all-time, but I just can’t get behind this role. It’s so bland and lifeless, and I honestly have no idea why Keaton accepted this role. What did he see in it? Maybe he just really wanted to make a Christmas movie so he accepted any script that was even remotely related to the holiday.
He commits to his performance here and I definitely commend that. You can tell that he actually had fun with the role, but a lot of the other actors seem like they kind of hated being involved with this project. Kelly Preston and Mark Addy look like they regret agreeing to be in the movie practically throughout every scene and it shows.
The story of the film is actually quite original and entertaining, but I just couldn’t help but feel as though this could have been something truly terrific if the film had a higher rating such as PG-13. This movie deals with the death of a father and while the film handles it in an okay manner, they should have committed to it more. Everything just feels faked.
Something that I do appreciate regarding Jack Frost is the fact that it’s incredibly goofy and over-the-top and it appears as though Troy Miller knew this and embraced it one-hundred-percent. He knew he was making a weird and campy movie and he didn’t care. He wanted to make that kind of movie. He wanted to make a movie that young kids would enjoy and have fun watching. And although I don’t have too much fun watching it as an adult, I definitely do remember having a really good time with this movie when I was a kid.
Overall Grade: D
MPAA Rating: PG for mild language
Directed by: Troy Miller
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Release Date: December 11, 1998
Running Time: 101 minutes