'Solitary Man' asks life questions - East Valley Tribune: Movies

Movie Review 'Solitary Man' asks life questions

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Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010 12:00 am

"Solitary Man" is one of those films that make you ask a lot of questions about your own life.

Do you like the life you've lead? Do you like how you've treated others, including your family? Would you have done things differently in your life?

Michael Douglas' Ben Kalmen character brings about these questions.

At 60, Ben is a washed-up, formerly successful car dealership owner who used to have it all before he broke the law trying to make more money, left his loving wife and started having sex with every woman who would have him.

He turns to his own daughter, Susan (Jenna Fischer, "The Office"), when he needs someone to talk to, even if it's 3 a.m.

His ex-wife, Nancy (Susan Sarandon, "The Lovely Bones") is still cordial with him, even loaning him money when he needs it. She is the voice of reason that luckily Ben still can lean on.

Ben exudes confidence and is always out to have a good time. His behavior leaves some, including his young grandson and a student he meets, thinking he is a god.

The student, Daniel Cheston (Jesse Eisenberg, "Zombieland"), is pushed to be more of a ladies man by Ben after he is assigned to show Ben around campus.

Ben is visiting his old campus to escort his girlfriend's daughter to her college interview. Back in his heyday, Ben gave money to build the school library, and his name still adorns the building.

Danny DeVito ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") is Jimmy Merino, Ben's old friend who runs a restaurant and helps Ben out during his time of need.

The film is good, but not great.

The one thing I didn't like about it that made me cringe was his one-night stand with his girlfriend's 18-year-old daughter, Allyson (Imogen Poots, "28 Weeks Later"), who turns out to show Ben a thing or two about what the night actually meant.

Brian Koppelman co-directed and wrote the film, along with director David Levien. The two frequent collaborators also wrote "Oceans 13."

Be prepared to answer your life questions after this film conjures it all up.

"Solitary Man"

Starring: Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Mary Louise-Parker, Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg

Rating: R for language and some sexual content

Running time: 90 minutes

Grade: B

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