Solitary Man

Rated 3.0

Screenwriter Brian Koppelman (who also co-directed) puts Michael Douglas at the center of a small, brashly offbeat anecdote, and gives him and the supporting players more or less even shares in a steady stream of pungent dialog. The tale that emerges from all this is not particularly exceptional, but the resulting portraiture is often unexpectedly fresh. Ben Kalmen (Douglas) is a middle-aged hotshot, a once-legendary New York car dealer whose career and life have run aground on more kinds of bankruptcy than just the financial one. Divorced from his wife, Nancy (Susan Sarandon), and navigating a power-broker romance with the socially influential Jordan Karsch (Mary-Louise Parker), he is also a compulsive womanizer. Kalmen is an energetic and cheerfully amoral entrepreneur for whom every kind of relationship—romantic, familial, financial—is a transaction that must be tweaked to a profitable conclusion. It’s no surprise that his blithely cynical enthusiasms come to no good end, but the film’s chops reside elsewhere—in how Kalmen and a half dozen others respond to his deceptions and betrayals and to their own complicity in his assorted charismatic escapades. Pageant Theatre. Rated R