False gravity weighs down 2 Jacks, a father-son drama less interested in exploring familial relations than in tut-tutting the millennials.
Instead of a portrait, director Bernard Rose opts to draw two parallel lines, trace over them with a thick black marker, then shake his head at the second one. Jack Senior (Danny Huston, channeling Jack Nicholson’s toothy sexuality and George Clooney’s grinning confidence) is a universally beloved but unemployable director—apparently no one watches his very popular films. An off-label version of The Godfather score accompanies Jack as, broke, shameless, and aching for a fistfight, he wanders around mid-century Hollywood to secure financing for his comeback picture.
He succeeds only in seducing party-girl Diana (Sienna Miller) with a very cinematic declaration: “I would do anything for you. I’d walk through fire. I would kill myself at your command.” Diana crumples onto the bed, waiting to blossom under his touch.
At the film’s halfway point, Jack the Elder’s story abruptly ends and his son’s begins. Jack the Younger (Jack Huston, Danny’s nephew, flat and charmless) is a bratty aspiring filmmaker who has just arrived in Los Angeles to shoot his debut. He tries to get himself invited to stay for the duration of the months-long shoot at a stranger’s house—Diana’s (Jacqueline Bisset), in fact—but can’t help fleecing his would-be hostess out of $180 during a card game. The rest of Junior’s segment finds him coming up short where his old man succeeded.
We’ve heard this patronizing lecture already.