It’s nice to see Michael Douglas back in a good vehicle with Solitary Man. In many ways, Brian Koppleman and David Levien’s film (script by Koppleman) presents a greatest-hits display of the Douglas persona: ambitious, unscrupulous entrepreneur undone by greed and supreme hubris (following a trip to the doctor—what was in that EKG?); charming, irresponsible ex-husband, lover, father, grandfather etc; unlikely mentor.
The movie, following a brief prologue, finds Douglas’ character in the midst of his decline, as a once-reputable car magnate in career freefall who is now trying to get back on track. The problem is, Douglas can’t help himself from knowingly screwing up any break that comes his way—mainly because of his insatiable desire for younger women, which leads him to jeopardize family relationships, as well as a present romance with a wealthy, powerful woman ( an icy Mary Louise Parker) who has an attractive, college-bound daughter (Imogen Poots). You can probably figure out some of the rest, but the strengths of the film lie in Douglas’ unflinching, yet not entirely unsympathetic portrayal of the main character—and the fine ensemble cast, including Danny deVito as Douglas’ reliable college friend, Jenna fischer in a lovely turn as Douglas’ daughter, and Susan Sarandon as Douglas’ ex-wife who still has a soft spot for her wandering boy. If it comes to your neighborhood, look up this Solitary Man.