Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.
Set against the bright lights of Manhattan, a tale which takes a comic, urbane look at the modern male ego at war in the singles scene trenches. Roger Swanson is a hopelessly cynical advertising copywriter with a razor-sharp wit who believes he has mastered the art of manipulating women. But Roger's seemingly foolproof world of smooth talk and casual sex begins to unravel when he is paid a surprise visit by his teenager nephew, Nick. Hoping to settle, once and for all, the issue of his virginity, Nick begs Roger to school him in the art of seducing women. Welcoming the challenge, Roger guides Nick through the city's wild nightlife for an all-night crash course, only to realize that he--the adult--still has something to learn about what women, and men, really want. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I wouldn't have thought from previews that "Roger Dodger" would have an ounce of romance in it, but it does. The scene between Elizabeth Berkeley, Jennifer Beals (both very good by the way--who would have thought?) and Roger's nephew is incredibly sweet and touching, but without being overly sentimental or cloying. Campbell Scott gives a fabulous performance as Roger, illustrating how broad his acting range is. My only complaint with the movie is its incredibly annoying cinematography. All of the compositions are cluttered and claustrophobic, sometimes so much so that the main focus of the shot is entirely obscured. And this trend toward hand-held cameras needs to be stopped. I think directors feel that hand-held cinematography lends a gritty, realistic point of view to their films, but more frequently it serves only to distract.
But a fairly minor quibble about an otherwise very good film.
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