Jake Klein (Elias Koteas), the central character in producer-writer-director Howard Goldberg's "Jake Squared," declares he's a "hopeless romantic." Unfortunately, the hopeless is more evident than the romantic. Disappointed at reaching 50 without having established a lasting relationship, wannabe movie director Jake throws a party and films it, hoping it will offer some insights into his problems.
But unexpected people keep turning up at the party and in the film. In addition to the handsome actor he's chosen to play himself (Mike Vogel), his dead parents and grandparents, several ex-girlfriends and Jake at 40 and 30 (Koteas again) and 17 (Kevin Railsback) all show up.
These characters reflect on the past, point out how Jake has messed up his life and offer advice on salvaging it. But the film is both overwritten and underwritten. The characters natter endlessly and summon printed quotes from Jean Cocteau, Mark Twain and e.e. cummings onto the screen. But they say nothing that's original, insightful or even interesting.
Koteas and the rest of the cast (including Jane Seymour, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Jason Leigh) struggle gamely with the material, but they're defeated by the nonstop chatter, Goldberg's flat-footed direction and the needlessly choppy cutting.
Ultimately, "Jake Squared" feels at once sophomorically self-indulgent and wearily jaded, like the work of a film student with a midlife crisis.
MPAA rating: R for language.
1 hour, 40 minutes.
Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.