Boston's Alternative Source! image!

R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 12/10/1998,

Jack Frost

The idea of a magical snowman befriending a child during the holidays is cute -- and it's the cartoon Frosty the Snowman. The idea of kid's dead father coming back to life in the form of a snowman is unfortunate -- and it's director Troy Miller's new movie. Michael Keaton is Jack Frost, a struggling musician who's been neglecting his familial duties in order to make it in the biz -- until he dies in a car crash. When he returns from beyond as a chunk of packed snow -- which his son, Charlie (Joseph Cross), builds in the front yard to the beat of Stevie Nicks's "Landslide" -- he wants to make it up to Charlie by helping him beat the bullies in a snowball fight, teaching him tricky hockey shots, and other dad-like duties. Naturally, when Jack in snowman form comes calling, Charlie acts as if Freddy Krueger were knocking at his front door, but soon he's dragging dear old dad through town on a sled, his friends joking to one another, "He's talking to that snowman again."

Despite relentless cliché and corn, Jack Frost will probably keep kids occupied -- there's a snowboarding scene with catchy music, a couple of snowball fights, and Michael Keaton coming to terms with his snowman status. ("Is it the name," he wonders? "Nah, it can't be. That isn't even clever.") But though Charlie's snowball-fight rival suggests that "a snow dad is better than no dad," a therapist might differ.

-- Rachel O'Malley