I am a big fan of Jesse Eisenberg’s and one of my favourite things to do is to catch old flicks that current favourites of mine have starred in. I like to compare and see how much of their current success is good source material and directors and how much is just their raw acting talent. Roger Dodger is billed as a dark comedy and I suppose on the fringes it is but in the end it is more a dark family drama then comedic and one that Jesse shines in.
Roger (Campbell Scott) is a hopelessly cynical advertising copywriter with a razor-sharp wit who believes he’s mastered the art of manipulating women. But Roger’s seemingly foolproof methods unravel when he tries to school his teenage nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) in his techniques. Smooth talk and casual sex used to work fine, but now it seems he’s got a lot to learn about women in this comic, urbane look at the modern male ego.
Admittedly not for everyone the emphasis on Roger Dodger is on strong dialogue and witty banter and at times the dialogue can run on at length. It is the kind of film that fans of Six Degrees of Separation will appreciate because of its well thought out conversation and dialogue.
Campbell Scott and Jesse Eisenberg have a fantastic dynamic as the master teaches the protégé the art of seduction. Jesse Eisenberg reveals early signs of the genius we all know him for now as he transforms effortlessly into his role and truly leads you into the film and into his Uncle’s warped outlook on women, society and the art of seduction. Eisenberg’s talent is apparent and mixed with a fantastic script this somewhat dry and sometimes slow drama reveals early hints of a career on the rise.
Jesse Eisenberg has since done fantastic performances in Zombieland [ Review ] , The Social Network [ Review ] and Adventureland and if you are a fan of any of those films you will surely appreciate Jesse in this role. It is easily one of his best early films and one that fans will not be disappointed by at all.
Admittedly Jesse keeps playing the same naive role over and over again but this small dramatic film really is one you should checkout. Very similar in tone to Adventureland it has quite a bit of charm and is definitely a film worth watching. It is currently playing on NetFlix on Demand so those of you like me who subscribe can check it out with no risk at all. 7 out of 10 stars.