Review: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
Graphic designer Charles Swan III goes through a midlife crisis spurred on by his younger, attractive girlfriend breaking up with him (and rightly so), and lucky us, we get to go through the dull experience right there with him.
Who’s in It?
Charlie Sheen plays the titular successful graphic designer, and while it’s more of a stretch than his TV roles, it’s not by much. Bill Murray as an unhappy old man, Jason Schwartzman as a proudly Jewish comedian, and Aubrey Plaza in a sailor outfit (all of whom just do what they want) keeps this movie from being completely unwatchable.
Terribly self-indulgent, and proceeding without a drop of irony, Charles Swan supposedly delves into the mind of a conflicted man, but is utterly and completely boring, offering mere minutes of distraction from an endless banality of meaningless ennui. Not surprisingly, the mind of Charles Swan is filled with sex, drinking, and nothing the least bit deep or significant. Swan is the less interesting and wise version of Charlie Sheen (who would have thought possible?) even if he doesn’t use some of his signatures catch phrases, which in fact would have been welcomed since there isn’t anything else funny going on.
Swan has some of the most mundane fantasies ever captured on film; one would think that a dive into the mind might offer something imaginative. No. From rescuing his ex-girlfriend from an inept abductor to happening upon a group of sexy bathing Indians, Swan is simple and would be unlikeable but for the aura of indifference surrounding him and the film. Sometimes he rides a horse, sometimes he sings and dances, and trust when I say those things sound far more fascinating than they really are.
Director Roman Coppola, in his first feature endeavor, attempts to recreate the quirk that Wes Anderson has honed and triumphed. Coppola has worked on many Anderson films, which is likely how he got the very funny Murray and Schwartzman to add some credibility to this farce, but lacks an ability to pace a story, create a conflict, and evoke any bit of emotion. The two comic actors along with a decent selection of songs are the only redeemable qualities of this eye-rolling and head-scratchingly unimaginative bore of a film.
Should You See It?
Under no circumstances, ever.
The word ‘memorable’ is used generously here, but here we have Swan trying to explain himself to his exiting girlfriend why he has so many pictures of naked exes; and this is meant to be serious. “But that’s the drawer where I keep all my photos.”