American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Whoopi Goldberg is the only original or interesting thing about "Jumpin' Jack Flash." And she tries, but she's not enough. They've harnessed her to an exhausted screenplay - an anthology of old ideas and worn-out cliches - and although she strains with all her heart to pump energy into the movie, it's a lost cause.
There is nothing here to care about, except for her, and even then there's a catch: Her character is so self-contained, so cut off from the other people in the movie, that even when she is generating energy, the rest of the characters hardly seem to notice.
Goldberg plays a computer operator in a big New York bank, and it's a standing joke in her department that her computer terminal sometimes picks up Russian television. One day, it picks up another signal from Russia: a desperate cry for help from a man who signs himself Jumpin' Jack Flash. That is also the name of a Rolling Stones tune, and he challenges Goldberg to figure out his secret password key on the basis of that one clue.
She tries out a lot of passwords - including the first names of all of Mick Jagger's girlfriends - before she finally stumbles on the right one. Then she finds herself in the middle of an international intrigue. Jack Flash is the pseudonym for a British agent who's marooned in Russia and desperate to get information from the British Embassy that may allow him to escape. He wants Goldberg to help him.