Roger Dodger [2002]

Campbell Scott bristles, burns, and sneers as Roger, a would-be smoothie who gets jilted by his older lover (who also happens to be his boss at an advertising agency). When his teenage nephew Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) appears at his office the next day, hoping for lessons in how to deal with the ladies, Roger uses his nephew partly as a foil, partly as a prop as he vents his anger and unhappiness on women in a scathing tour of bars and parties. A sharp script and multidimensional performances make Roger Dodger more than a standard war-of-the-sexes diatribe. Scott (Big Night, The Spanish Prisoner) doesn't ask for sympathy and doesn't allow for pity--his award-winning performance as Roger has defiance and dignity, whether the character is spitting bile or humiliating himself. Featuring strong supporting performances from Eisenberg, Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet), Jennifer Beals (In the Soup), and (surprise) Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls). --Bret Fetzer

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