by D Otoni
Why do really good actors sometime sometimes make really bad movies? Robin Williams flopped with “Popeye” and Dustin Hoffman teamed with stellar costar Warren Beatty in the disappointing “Dick Tracy”. Well, now you can mark one down for Michael Douglas with “Solitary Man”, a project directed by Brian Koppleman and David Levien who penned “Oceans 13”.
This movie lacks any social redeeming factors, but sports a stellar cast of fantastic actors like Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Jesse Eisenberg, Jenna Fischer, and relative newcomer Imogen Poots, playing Mary-Louise Parker’s daughter. The only thing this film has more of is, mattresses. There’s at least one different one for every female cast member.
Michael Douglas plays Ben Kalmen, a totally despicable 50+ has-been car huckster who is a total letch with no moral compass and no sense of accountability. Susan Saradon plays Ben’s ex-wife and who’s seen this misbehavior before but blows a gasket when Ben scores with her best friend and then disses her.
Jenna Fischer (The Office) has the dubious task of Ben’s always-loving daughter. She tries to exhibit the transformation from daddy’s little girl into an independent woman who recognizes the reality of her father but lacks a convincing performance.
Oh, and Ben’s got a girlfriend, Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker), that is until he decides a mattress romp with her college-bound daughter is a noble calling of every young woman’s education. That goes over like a fake kid in a lost balloon.
And Ben’s not content with merely hitting on every woman he encounters; he wants to share his expertise like it was the Gospel to college nerd Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg) with disastrous results when Ben hits on Danny’s new-found sweetie. What a swell pal and mentor!
Not only is this film slow to endure, its makes you feel the need for a long shower after watching this great actor in a lackluster movie. There are a few moments, in a scene or two, when I seemed to notice the Kirk coming out like a Polaroid.
So, why do good actors sometimes make not-so-good (BAD) movies? Was it their agent?
A favor for friend? When the dust all settles The Solitary Man deserves a lonely outcome.