The film starts on a bit of a downer. We see Ben (Michael Douglas) at the Doctor’s having a friendly chat. Manly stuff, you know, golf and business. Then Doctor Subtle has to go and drop the bombshell that he is not as fighting fit as he thinks. But, instead of checking into the nearest get-me-well clinic, Ben morphs into a solitary man and becomes the ultimate sleazy mutton-dressed-as-lamb. Metaphorically. No woolly suits here.
But he does have likeable qualities. My main problem with the film was you couldn’t trust him. You appreciate his honesty; yeah, he likes younger women but were I a middle-aged man, I would probably shout “Go on my son!”. His self-appointed wingman status to the geeky Cheston (Jesse Eisenberg) and his heart to heart conversations withwith his daughter, Susan (Jenna Fischer) make me think more of him. But the minute you start to like him, he does something bad and betrays you. Why, Ben, WHY would you do this to me?
After letting down his daughter too many times, she (rather apathetically) tells him to “stay away from us”. I’m not sure whether it is because I still remember her being a pushover in Blades of Glory, but Fischer is weak. Limp as boiled spinach.
‘Cos You Gotta Have Friends…Even if you are a solitary kinda guy
Danny Devito, however is great. He plays Jimmy, Ben’s old mate, but the two characters could not be more different. We are never sure what his motive for being such a great guy is, but it serves to make you feel warm and tingly. There ARE good people out there who are willing to put the past behind them and help out a buddy even after thirty years!
So whilst some things are not entirely believable (namely Fischer, and the way that hot girls fall for old men), the film as a whole is quite moving, especially regarding friends and family. I even felt moved to sickness at times. There’s something about an old guy at a teenage party, drinking from a red plastic cup and sleazing on young girls that creeps.me.out. Give it a rest, Grandpa and go home.
Solitary Man Quotes
“Aren’t you a little old for this?”
“You’re still standing here aren’t you?”
“Yeah, ’cause I’m contemplating throwing a drink in your face.”