Angela Sant’Albano and Luke Rollason in Jack (Photos: Groucho Arts Ltd.)

By Matt Brunson

★★ (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Pelayo de Lario
STARS Luke Rollason, Angela Sant’Albano

Throughout modern film history, the talking penis has never lacked for large — or even tiny — roles. Whether it’s Griffin Dunne’s weenie ordering him around in 1988’s Me and Him or Sacha Baron Cohen’s schlong bellowing at him in 2009’s Brüno, whether it’s Liberace’s mincing member being accidentally attached to a body instead of Jim Morrison’s junk in 1999’s Rock n’ Roll Frankenstein or Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee’s pecker holding a conversation with its owner in the recent Pam & Tommy, the talking penis has had the sort of screen career of which such Z-list celebs as Kevin Sorbo and Scott Baio can only dream.

The low-budget British comedy Jack is the latest film to feature a chatty willy. Luke Rollason stars as Charlie, a college kid whose best friends include Rock (Philip Tomlin), a gay guy always ready with the witty quip, and Owen (Douglas Clarke-Wood), a doofus who likes to walk around in the nude. Charlie is smitten with new girl in town Barbie Le Fleur (Angela Sant’Albano) — unfortunately, she believes him to be homosexual, meaning he can get close to her as a platonic friend but nothing more. All the while, Charlie is seeing a hunky psychiatrist (Luis Mottola) who mainly just listens and says “Hmm” a lot before scribbling down some notes.

What, you might ask, does all this have to do with a talking penis? Not much, would be the answer. Jack basically plays like any other off-the-conveyor-belt teen rom-com, with a flustered protagonist, quirky BFFs, a romantic misunderstanding, and a smarmy preppie who gets his comeuppance at the end. Toss this script in a time machine, set the Wellsian contraption to 1985, and expect to see Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall on the poster. Journey a bit back to the future, and it could be an American Pie sequel. In short, it’s no better and no worse than many of its ilk — average in most respects, it benefits from a couple of mildly amusing gags, good performances by Tomlin and Mottola, and that’s about it.

Perhaps sensing this needed a hook to set it apart, writer-director Pelayo de Lario (scripting with Elena Conte) came up with the idea of the talking tool. The penile property of Charlie, Jack (voiced by de Lario himself) is on hand to make wiseass cracks, but he has nothing really to do with the central plotline — remove the “character” of Jack from the movie called Jack, and nothing really changes. Jack is even forgotten for long stretches at a time, and, astonishingly, he’s completely MIA during the final scenes, not even piping up to provide a closing zinger.

De Lario should be commended for making Jack on such a low budget — the pacing is smooth and the tech contributions solid — but when it comes to his phallic star, it’s little more than a cheapjack gimmick.

(Jack is currently playing the film festival circuit and will be available on such streaming services as Amazon Prime and iTunes later in 2023.)

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