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Roger Dodger: review
I'm certainly not alone in first associating Campbell Scott with his neutered turn as sensitive leukemia patient who falls for Julia Roberts in Dying Young--which makes his change-of-pace work in Roger Dodger all the more revelatory. Scott is nothing less than electrifying as abrasive ad copywriter Roger Swanson, who prides himself on his nimble, nasty (in every sense) turns of phrase and their alleged ability to turn on the opposite sex. But Roger's supposed skill is put to the test when his virginal 16-year-old nephew Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) pays a surprise visit in hopes that his uncle can school him in the ways of women.
So begins one very long night during which Roger's shallow bitterness and general cluelessness is laid bare--a night made to feel all the longer by the eye-straining Dogme 95 school of non-lighting employed by writer-director Dylan Kidd. Luckily Kidd is able to entertain the ears and mind with his cutting dialogue and his ability with actors; that Elizabeth Berkley is actually rather good as one of two women (Jennifer Beals playing the other) with whom Roger and Nick spend a large part of their night says it all. The likable Eisenberg also holds his own, but there's no escaping the large shadow of Scott's hilariously hateful hauteur, which is able to counteract some falsely fuzzy notes in the ending.