MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Michael Douglas plays Ben Kalman, a car dealer mogul who has spent time in prison. After serving his time, he tries to revive his life and reconnect with his estranged family. However, his self-destructive ways cause him to get involved with the wrong woman, resulting in the alienation of his family and business associates. He tries to reconnect with students at his step-daughter’s school as well as his old-time friend, leading him to really examine his life.
WHAT I LIKED
For what it’s worth, the acting in “Solitary Man” is very good. It’s one of those films that’s aiming for awards and accolades, and I suppose it is getting some good reviews. It’s a showcase piece for Michael Douglas, who doesn’t always throw down the acting gauntlet. Too often he plays his basic character, and “Solitary Man” gives him a chance to show off his skills. And with the exception of Jesse Eisenberg, who plays just another version of Mark Zuckerberg or Columbus from “Zombieland.” When are people going to realize that he doesn’t act at all but plays a version of himself?
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
It can be said that a movie is nothing more than its plot and the characters. If this is the case, this is why I don’t like “Solitary Man.” I didn’t find any of the character remotely interesting or likeable. Even Jenna Fischer, who plays Ben’s daughter and is presented in the sympathetic position of someone desperately wanting a relationship with him, is a complete idiot.
Occasionally I like a film that features dysfunctional people, but they have to have a certain amount of likeability. There’s no likeability anywhere in this film. I felt no sympathy for Ben or anyone else. And by the end of the film, I didn’t care about how anyone’s story got resolved.
The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary with writer/director Brian Koppelman, director David Levien and actor Douglas McGrath. There’s also a standard behind-the-scenes featurette called “Solitary Man: Alone in a Crowd.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Award film junkies.