Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Solitary Man (Rhoades)

“Solitary Man” Reunites Old Pals
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Talk about an odd couple, Michael Douglas and Danny Devito used to be roommates. The handsome leading man and the diminutive character actor. Both have done well in their Hollywood careers. Maybe being roomies added a comfort level that came across when they co-starred in “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile.” They’ve also appeared together in “The War of the Roses,” as comfortable as a pair of old shoes.

Now we have them again in “Solitary Man.” That’s Douglas in the title role as Ben Kalmen, a used car huckster down on his luck. He’s hoping for a big comeback, if only he doesn’t let his hubris take hold again. His ex-wife (Susan Sarandon) understands him, only too well. And his daughter (Jenna Fischer) has broken off relations since she found out he’s dating her school friend (Imogen Poots), who happens to be the daughter of his current girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker). Yes, his life is messy.

His pal (Devito) is watching it all from the sidelines, the way you can’t take your eyes away from the scene of an automobile accident. Or in this case, an accident that’s about to happen if our solitary man continues along his self-destructive path.

Douglas compares the storyline to the unpredictability of life. “I love digging a hole for a guy, and getting him way down, and saying, well, how you gonna get out of this predicament? And then sorta watching how somebody kinda rises out of it.”
It’s about middle-age crises. “Don’t call me grandpa,” he tells his daughter’s son.
“Aren’t you a little old for all this,” he’s asked. Maybe. After all, what’s a fiftysomething man doing dating his daughter’s classmate?

His ex-wife says, “You can’t cheat death, no matter how many nineteen-year-olds you talk into your bed.”

“Solitary man” is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema. This may be Michael Douglas’ best performance since “Wonder Boys” (based on a book by my Pulitzer Prize-winning pal Michael Chabon).

Douglas recalls the old days when he and Danny Devito shared an apartment on West 89th Street in New York. “Danny was sloppy,” he jokes. “No, really, he was a great roommate. It was a magical time. We were getting paid to act!”

“In the movie, Danny’s my oldest buddy,” he says. “It’s comfortable. It’s nice. I know why actors work with each other over and over again. You don’t have to go through all the introductions and feeling each other out. You just do it.”
[from Solares Hill]

1 comment:

Adam Marsh said...

Sounds like an interesting film, I'll have to check it out.