Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick Look: SOLITARY MAN

As written and directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, Solitary Man is a dispensable indie drama. It’s sleepy and bland from start to finish, despite a decent premise and a fine cast. It’s that very cast, however, that saves the film from being entirely worthless. It stars the great Michael Douglas as a car salesman who has driven his career into the ground while his personal life followed. The role is a caricature of a certain kind of baby-boomer who enters a mid-life crisis and doesn’t leave, using sex and booze as an attempt to cover up the realities of the march of time. Douglas is called upon to look great in a suit and act charming even when smarmy and grotesque. He brings a real charm to the role along with weight and humor that would otherwise, in the hands of a lesser actor, get swallowed up by the bitterness of the script. It also helps that Douglas is surrounded by some nicely tuned performances from the likes of Susan Sarandon and Mary-Louise Parker, a welcome Danny DeVito, and an impressive Jenna Fischer (who I’ve long suspected to be the strongest actor in the ensemble of The Office). While the cast does their best to elevate the material, the film remains uninspired. But at least it’s not unnotable.

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