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15 Roger Dodger (2003)

updated 11th August 2003
reviewer's rating
Five Stars
Reviewed by Nev Pierce


Director
Dylan Kidd
Writer
Dylan Kidd
Stars
Campbell Scott
Jesse Eisenberg
Isabella Rossellini
Elizabeth Berkley
Jennifer Beals
Length
106 minutes
Distributor
Optimum
Cinema
15th August 2003
Country
USA
Genres
Comedy
Drama
Web Links
Interview with Campbell Scott

Interview with Elizabeth Berkley


Alfie takes Manhattan in this acerbic comedy, which combines the crass carnality of Michael Caine's cocky Casanova with the plaintive observations of Woody Allen's classic romance.

Roger (Campbell Scott) is a smart-mouthed advertising suit who spends his days reminding consumers "how fat and unattractive they are" and his nights prowling Big Apple bars on a never-ending seduce and destroy mission.

He gets his kicks getting laid or getting nasty - verbally demolishing vulnerable women, zeroing in on their weaknesses with a laser-sharp wit. Enter nephew Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), a 16-year-old runaway desperate to lose his virginity in NYC. Can Uncle Roger help?

"Sex is everywhere - it is all around us. You have to attune yourself to it," says the titular rogue, as he waxes lyrical on lechery during the boy's one-night, crash-course in seduction. After initial reservations over the inconvenience, he relishes dispensing wit and 'wisdom' to his young charge - describing his personal peccadilloes as "just spastic enough to be charming", demanding he drink, smoke and lie his way into bed with the women they meet (Jennifer Beals and Elizabeth Berkley).

Campbell is brilliant as the amoral anti-hero, a charismatic, complex creation who is at once enviable, contemptible, charming and pathetic. Kidd's script is a fearlessly frank exposé of male sexual attitudes, which allows its characters to be ambiguous and real, presenting their actions as is, without any moralising undertones.

This lack of lecturing allows for totally unpredictable action, which surprises right to the final frame. And despite reams of barbed dialogue, the picture's never stagy or talky - with the verbal jousting and New York street scenes captured expertly by jittery hand-held camerawork.

"Roger Dodger" explores the cynical and naïve, and presents a truthful, perceptive blend of both. Sexy, edgy, funny and unique - it's a cult classic.

"Roger Dodger" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 15th August 2003.





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