Solitary Man

Michael Douglas channels his performances as Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko in this tale of a 60-year-old corporate high-flyer whose life gets flip-turned upside down—and let me take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t watch this sad excuse for entertainment. His character is a narcissistic misogynist, filled with bile and contemptuous of almost everyone, who almost lands in prison for fraud (maybe tax avoision?) having run a car dealership into the ground. Only his money saves him from wearing an orange jumpsuit behind bars for a few decades. He’s probably about to die any minute from a heart attack—his EKG indicates arrhythmia—and he hates basically every (wo)man in his life, with the exception of his new wife’s 18-year-old daughter, whom he takes to a prospective college campus upstate and is all too happy to promptly seduce. The remainder of the film deals with his attempts to claw his way out of the gutter and into his family’s cool but fiducially solvent embrace.

How writer-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien conned a fine supporting cast—including Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Mary-Louise Parker, Jenna Fischer and The West Wing’s Richard Schiff—into appearing in this sort of middling garbage is a mystery. Guess they’ve all gotta pay the mortgage, though, right? Koppleman and Levien were involved with Steven Soderberg’s surprisingly sophisticated Sasha Grey-starring flick The Girlfriend Experience last year, and wrote Runaway Jury, which wasn’t bad, and Ocean’s Thirteen, which was. Their scripts are enjoyable despite being formulaic, but they should probably not try their hand at directing again, given this train wreck. The only redeeming factor here is that Johnny Cash & Tom Petty’s cover of the titular Neil Diamond song plays over the credits—but you can see that all on YouTube.

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