This new drama starring Claire Danes and Jim Parsons gets the delicate treatment from director Silas Howard though it may be frustrating in its contemplative, discursive nature.
A Kid Like Jake has been adapted by Daniel Pearle from his own play with the concept of putting a discussion on the table without gelling the narrative in such a way that favors a sober rendering over satirical possibilities.
The titular four-year-old, played by Leo James Davis, isn't really the center of attention in Howard's vision where Danes' former attorney, Alex, and Parsons' Greg, a therapist, are the well-to-do, amenable parents who won't shy away from a cocktail party.
Alex and Greg begin to face the facts about their creative, sportive son who would prefer to look like Rapunzel than a pirate when the chance arises to place him in an elite private school than a zoned-out public one due to his proclivities.
All of the conversing doesn't help make the drama resonate even when the latter portions have more emotional output. Maybe the underwhelming effect comes in part due to its analyst aura with Parsons in diagnostic mode. Danes diligently works to bust through stereotypes inherit in her role, but to little avail. Ann Dowd comes on strong as the disapproving maternal type.
Octavia Spencer is more of a plot device than a character as a preschool counselor, Judy, while Priyanka Chopra looks good as a close friend and dinner companion but little more. Amy Landecker offers welcome lightness to the proceedings as a patient, but doesn't seem essential to Jake which apparently needed her to pad the running time to feature length. Since Jake never appeared in the progenitor perhaps the solace in tackling a timely topic like diversity could have been done with the kind of flair that sadly isn't glimpsed enough.
|A Kid Like Jake||C||C|