August 12, 2003

Roger Dodger

roger.jpgCampbell Scott stars as Roger, a single advertising copy writer with the gift of gab. He is self-assured to the point of cockiness. He thinks of himself as (and is perceived as) a ladies' man. Roger's teenage nephew, Nick, appears in Roger's office and begs his uncle to give him lessons in the art of wooing women. Roger is unable to resist this challenge and the remainder of the film follows the master and the apprentice through the prowling grounds of New York.

As the evening goes on, the level of Roger's mastery of the subject comes increasingly into question. Layers and layers of veneer are burned away both from the jaded Roger and from the innocent Nick.

The film is fundamentally an extended character study of Roger. Everything that happens gives us a clearer view of who this man is. Scott's performance lets us see that Roger himself is learning some of these lessons along with us, though they are much more painful and difficult to accept for him. Writer/Director Dylan Kidd manages to keep the story honest and very personal. Every time it could have gone for the easy laugh or the cozy resolution, this story instead takes a turn into even more authentic territory.

The DVD is a film techie's dream. All the extras are about how the film was made, and seem to have been produced by the same crew that made the film itself. There's none of the usual banality of production featurettes, instead you get interviews with the costume designer and the producer and the casting director. We didn't watch the movie until it was already overdue at the library so we didn't have time to view either of the commentary tracks, but they sound like they'd be fun (one with director and DP, the other with director and Scott). From the sound of some of the interviews, the film got lots of criticism for the use of "shaky cameras", but I for one didn't really find that distracting at all. It felt like you were just in the room watching these characters a couple of tables away.

Posted by jeffy at August 12, 2003 11:37 PM
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