Roger Dodger (review)

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As a portrait in cluelessness, Dylan Kidd’s debut as a writer and director is a hoot: Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott: The Imposters) considers himself a real ladies’ man, the dude with the inside scoop on this whole sex thing that drives the rest of us crazy. He is, of course, wildly mistaken. Scott’s having a ball, diving head-first into a juicy character — the man who thinks he knows it all and doesn’t even know himself — and managing to make Roger if not actually sympathetic then nonetheless entirely fascinating in his astounding pigheadedness. One would worry for his sweet-natured nephew, teenaged Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), seeking advice on romance and getting a rowdy night on the town with Roger in reply, except that Nick’s head is on a lot straighter than his uncle’s. If only Roger could see that himself. Kidd’s script is whip-smart, a marvel of efficient, clever conversation, even if most of it is nothing more than Roger’s sound and fury, signifying nothing. But the bitter, ironic snorts it elicits are highly satisfying.

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