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Solitary Man


The Details

Solitary Man
Three stars
Michael Douglas, Jesse Eisenberg, Susan Sarandon
Directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien
Rated R.
Beyond the Weekly
Solitary Man
IMDb: Solitary Man
Rotten Tomatoes: Solitary Man

Few things in life are more pathetic than the aging privileged male who bumps up against irrefutable evidence of his own mortality and instantly turns into a destructive, carpe-diem asshole. To its credit, Solitary Man, directed by the team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Knockaround Guys), fully recognizes this, and portrays its ostensible hero, skirt-chasing 60-ish car dealer Ben (or “Captain Ben,” as he insists that his grandson call him, so as not to scare off the hotties), as a smug, self-deluded punching bag.

Michael Douglas digs into this typically unflattering role with his usual relish, and even manages to compensate for the schematic way that the movie lays out exactly what provoked all this bad behavior. In the end, though, it’s tough to work up much interest in the redemption of yet another (once-) rich white guy who decided that the best way to cheat death was to pretend that he’s still 25.


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  • A balance of strong humor with serious danger and uncertainty with a cast full of great actors.

  • Remarkably, the film gradually neutralizes its apparent protagonist, adding to a harrowing experience.

  • Ken Jeong has had scene-stealing roles as oddball characters, but a little of his manic energy goes a long way.

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