Not in the company of Neil Labute
In the 1990s writer-director Neil Labute made two fantastically dark and harshly entertaining movies examining the culture of jaded, womanizing, misogynist yuppies: In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors. Labute's scathing-but-witty dialog and sharp directorial point-of-view defined his movies as more than just exercises in glib sexual politics, but as searing indictments of the insecurities and dislocations that poison relationships amongst a class of young overachievers who have been over-educated but underdeveloped as people. Roger Dodger, the debut movie from director Dylan Kidd, is a pallid Labute knock-off about a jaded, womanizing, misogynist yuppie (Campbell Scott) who tries to teach his timid, virginal nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) how score with chicks, but — switcheroo! — his innocent nephew teaches him a thing or two about being human. There are some decent performances in Roger Dodger — Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Berkley, and Isabella Rossellini each do what they can with a script that's dying to be smart and edgy — but is all comes off as a soft and derivative showcase of me-too male self-loathing and presumptive wisdom from someone who is both too young to know what he knows and at least four years late to the party.
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