BEN LOVES HIS FAMILY ALMOST AS MUCH AS HE LOVES HIMSELF.
Once successful, now disgraced car salesman Ben Kalmen’s (Michael Douglas) marriage is over, the relationship with his daughter is troubled, and he probably has a heart condition… but that doesn’t stop him from chasing after college girls. This is truly a vehicle for Douglas whose character shares a few traits with not only other people he’s played onscreen but also the actor himself. He’s a treat, and it’s fun to watch him get together with his Romancing the Stone buddy Danny DeVito again. The script portrays a man who has no idea how to age with dignity and the results are amusing, awkward and insightful, though perhaps not blindingly original.
2010-U.S. 90 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Steven Soderbergh, Donna Golomb, Heidi Jo Markel, Paul Schiff. Directed by Brian Koppelman, David Levien. Screenplay: Brian Koppelman. Cast: Michael Douglas (Ben Kalmen), Susan Sarandon (Nancy Kalmen), Danny DeVito (Jimmy Merino), Mary-Louise Parker, Jenna Fischer, Jesse Eisenberg.
Last word: “I had the idea and I started working on it, writing it, and I think from the moment that I started writing, I wrote in that needle drop of the Johnny Cash (song) ‘Solitary Man.’ When [Levien and I are] writing scripts that aren’t for us to direct, we do that much less. Because that’s really a director’s prerogative, what songs and what music and maybe we’ll indicate, but right from the beginning, it was that this story is personal, and we should direct it. When I showed the script to David, he immediately agreed. Right? It was never an issue of ‘I should go sell this,’ it was like ‘Let’s go make this movie.” (Koppelman, Coming Soon)