" Have you met my nephew? His name is Jesus. " - [ Quality t
Snow White | Orange County | 04/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
Roger Swanson(Campbell Scott) knows women. He knows what makes them tick, why they are the way they are; from the way they wear their hair, the shoes they picked out or the look in their eyes. Roger has mastered the art of knowing women, what they think they're hiding deep down; and he blows his own horn about the very fact quite masterfully, and frequently. When his boss Joyce(Isabella Rossellini) breaks off their secret affair, Roger is angered and convinced she will change her mind and return immediately to his highly intelligent self.
A wrench gets thrown into Roger's routine when his 16 year old nephew Nick(Jesse Eisenberg) shows up in his office, hoping to spend some quality time with his absent uncle. Nick's your typical high school outcast, inexperienced, shy and naive; the complete opposite of his uncle Roger. So when Nick asks his uncle to teach him how he acquires the attention of so many women, he just might not be ready for the abstract knowledge that is about to spew from Roger's salacious unconscious.
"You drink that drink! Alcohol has been a social lubricant for thousands of years. What do you think, you're going to sit here tonight and reinvent the wheel?"
After bombarding young Nick with a truly brilliant monologue on the ravenous city streets, we find this twosome in a bar where Roger hits Nick with the nights' first challenge; converse with two beautiful older women Andrea(Elizabeth Berkley) and Sophie(Jennifer Beals) on the premise that they've made a bet for a thousand dollars; that Nick cannot get a woman to fall in love with him that very night.
This movie has its awkward moments, sometimes I just wanted to yell at little Nick("get out of there! I feel embarrassed for you!") and the reoccurring music is a little on the cheesy side, but overall this film is very intelligent.
Campbell Scott is brilliant as Roger, although the cast is great, he alone carries this film to a new level entirely. His ongoing rants and insight into the female mystique, not to mention his arrogance should really make us dislike him, but something in his portrayal is too sincere, and we see when the tables are turned that even Roger can be hurt.
I commend this film and it's ability to juxtapose it's two main characters so beautifully, leaving so many questions to be asked. Is it better to be overly aware, or blissfully ignorant? Does your heart break any more when it's happened so many times, and you have the ability to see it coming?
As Roger says: "Sex is everywhere!""
Downright seducing, in a destructively intelligent sense...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 02/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watching Campbell Scott work is magic on this third season of `Damages' (that show is just BRILLIANT) has made me want to review his finest hour, `Roger Dodger'. This is a film that didn't strike me so much the first time I saw it, but as I sat and thought it over it became evident that this film was something very special. Oh yeah, Scott's performance is phenomenal (how that NBR win didn't translate to an Oscar nomination is beyond me).
The film has a very simple premise. Campbell Scott plays Roger Swanson, a successful business man (making his living telling lies) who is a self-proclaimed ladies man who uses his suave yet blunt personality to get himself between any sheets he sets his mind to. His confidence finds itself shaken when he receives a rejection he wasn't expecting (from his boss no less) and when his nephew shows up at his place of business looking for some attention he finds that his destructive tendencies have casualties outside of his own digression.
I want to make this clear. The film seems to almost slide ferociously into chaos in the final chapter, and while this may come off rather misplaced, especially when considering the fact that the first three-quarters run much slower and more calculated than the chaotic ending, it is really genius the way that Dylan Kidd uses Roger's own mental breakdown as a catalyst for spinning the films core out of control.
It makes total sense when you put everything on Roger's back.
The film really rides beautifully on the cast. Sure, there is really only two main character's in play here; Roger and his nephew Nick (Scott and Eisenberg respectively), but Kidd made sure that even the most minute of supporting player is fleshed out with vividly realized performances. When Roger and Nick pick up two girls in a bar you are instantly drawn into their stories because they are marvelously portrayed (who would ever have thought that Elizabeth Berkley could pull off such a layered and natural performance). Jesse Eisenberg is a young star I'm not too familiar with (although he has a following now), but this performance is rather remarkable when you really analyze it. He never allows the weight of the eventualities to ware at him, and he evokes an awkward confidence that beautifully contrasts the arrogant swagger of his uncle. I love Isabella Rossellini, and she is astonishing here as well (she plays off of Scott's aggressive nature flawlessly).
And then there is Campbell Scott. I mean, this performance is just downright flawless. I don't even know what to say. The way he taps into this mans seething realities is just unprecedented. I love how he reveals his character's glitches in the way he shifts his eyes, like when Nick is revealing issues at home, he almost instinctively feels compelled to act yet his ingrained persona kicks in and he dispels all emotion. The downward and chaotic spiral of degradation at the films climax is just another glimpse into this man's bitter unhappiness.
And here is the kicker; the film never addresses it outright, which I think is GEEEE-NEEEE-US!
Like I said, when the film ended I was left scratching my head for a bit. I was thrown off by the sudden and drastic shift in tone, and then the ending `almost' seemed like a copout, but as I reflecting on the film and watched it a few more times I found that it all strangely feels so appropriate.
Certainly one of the best films of 2002, and Campbell Scott's performance is one of the best of the decade, easy!"