Roger Dodger
4 out of 5 stars
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sex is everywhere Dylan Kidd tackles male-female interaction with a take-no-prisoners streak of cynicism reminiscent of Neil Labute's In the Company of Men but with a more emotional centre. Roger (Scott) is an arrogant, know-it-all New York writer happily explaining everything to anyone who will listen. So when his girlfriend (Rossellini) dumps him he's a bit stunned. And since she's also his boss, he starts to question himself on several levels ... not that he'd ever let anyone know that! Then his 16-year-old nephew Nick (Eisenberg) shows up on his doorstep with one thing on his mind: losing his virginity. Suddenly Roger's life has purpose again, and he thinks he can pass on his deep wellspring of knowledge to this young man. Until Nick turns out to know much more than Roger both about women and about being a real man.

The film has a natural, edgy energy to it that draws us into Roger and Nick's all-night odyssey of self-discovery. Scott and Eisenberg are so good in the roles that it's hard to remember that Scott has never played such a nasty piece of work before, and that Eisenberg is a newcomer to cinema. Both give convincing, powerful, knock-out performances; and they're brilliantly supported by the cheeky Rossellini and constantly surprising work from Berkley and Beals as women Roger and Nick pick up in a singles bar. As a director, Kidd's prowls through the scenes with handheld camera, catching telling glimpses and subtle visual counterpoints to his sparkling script. This is essentially a talkathon with just two main characters, and yet we are drawn in by both the cruel surfaces and the underlying softness. It's rare to see such intelligent, witty filmmaking. And rarer still to find a film that draws out such a strong response from the audience.

cert 15 themes, language, adult situations, innuendo 6.May.03

dir-scr Dylan Kidd
with Campbell Scott, Jesse Eisenberg, Isabella Rossellini, Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Berkley, Mina Badie, Ben Shenkman, Chris Stack, Courtney Sherman, Libby Larson, Morena Baccarin, Lisa Emery
release US 25.Oct.02; UK 15.Aug.03
Artisan
02/US 1h42

Learn from the master. Nick is just a bit dubious about the advice his Uncle Roger is giving him (Scott and Eisenberg)...

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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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