Pin It
Favorite

Solitary Man 

A late-middle-aged man’s fantasy: act like even more of a jerk and women will still fall all over you.

click to enlarge Michael Douglas in Solitary Man
  • Michael Douglas in Solitary Man

If the ongoing meltdown of an obnoxious asshole’s three-quarter-life crisis is your idea of a good time, have at it. Sixty-something Ben Kalmen (Michael Douglas) takes some potentially bad news from his doctor and turns it into an excuse to trash his reputation as an honest businessman, divorce his wife (Susan Sarandon), and alienate his adult daughter (Jenna Fischer) and her young son (Jake Richard Siciliano). Now he spends his days trying to seduce very young women — and mostly succeeding because, I dunno, everyone loves a washed-up old dude? — and hanging out with college kids (including Jesse Eisenberg), because the prospect of looming death has made him realize... what? That being a self-centered, bordering-on-sociopathic monster is the best way to wrap up one’s life?

Douglas turns in a fantastic performance — and it’s an intriguing counterpoint to his iconic character, Gordon Gekko, whom he’s revisiting at the moment in the new Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The entire cast — which also includes a charming cameo by Danny DeVito as an old friend of Ben’s whose life has gone in a much different direction — is excellent. Yet the entire film feels empty and pointless. Ben is a thoroughly unpleasant guy with no redeeming qualities and little to offer us by way of contrast; it’s hardly a newsflash that being an asshole may turn people against you. And directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien (they jointly wrote Ocean’s 13, though this is far from that kind of jape) don’t have anything new to reveal to us about how men face their mortality or how women appear to be driven to enable the jerks in their lives. The female characters, including Mary-Louise Parker as Ben’s new lover and Imogen Poots as her teenaged daughter — who is also quite mysteriously sleeping with Ben — are embarrassingly underdrawn. Through them we might have learned what made Ben lovable once or what makes him just barely tolerable today, but that’s entirely missing here. Give Solitary Man a miss: You won’t be missing anything at all. (Rated R)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Political Power
  • Political Power

    Jessica Chastain is a crafty, badass D.C. lobbyist in Miss Sloane
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Two and a Half Men

    Moonlight beautifully examines the intersection of sexuality and masculinity
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Man and Wife
  • Man and Wife

    Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
KC and The Sunshine Band

KC and The Sunshine Band @ Northern Quest Casino

Sun., Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Political Power
  • Political Power

    Jessica Chastain is a crafty, badass D.C. lobbyist in Miss Sloane
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • Weird Science
  • Weird Science

    Doctor Strange features a whole lot of CGI but lacks in story
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Wanna Rock?

    A slew of '80s glam favorites come to Wreck The Halls of Spokane Arena
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation