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Solitary Man (2009)

Solitary Man poster

This bristling character study morphs from late-midlife-crisis territory to campus comedy like air in a breeze. Michael Douglas has a way with zeitgeisty material and here the directing debut of Ocean’s 13 scripters Brian Koppelman and David Levien taps into inappropriate relationships, oversharing and plain bad sexual manners. Douglas has wrecked his car business, his marriage, is dangerously overstepping his adult married daughter’s tolerance and her regular cheques, he screws everything that moves and finally buries himself when he has sex with his latest girlfriend’s 18 year old daughter after accompanying her to her college interview, thereby ruining his last chance to resurrect his business. He fetches up back at that campus working in a burger bar for his college chum Danny De Vito (Douglas’ real-life friend from way back) and hanging out with student Jesse Eisenberg – until he hits on his girlfriend too. In a neat nod to Love Story, he has to look at the Library he himself funded every day while shovelling food at the teenagers who are not interested in exchanging sexual favours. Susan Sarandon is the great broad of an ex-wife, who finally finds out what drove him to lose it all on the bench where they first met. This is smart, adult relationship stuff and Douglas is great, even if it’s no Wonder Boys!

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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