Entertainment Movies

Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III' review: As empty as a Charlie Sheen apology

Zero stars (out of four)

I don’t know when or how “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” came about, but here’s the phone conversation that may as well have taken place between star Charlie Sheen and writer/director Roman Coppola:

CS: “Roman, baby, it’s Sheen. Need a favor.”

RC: “Of course. I remember what happened last time I said ‘no’ to you.”

CS: “Bitchin’. Need to do a movie to show how hard it is being me. We’ll call the character Charles Swan as a wink-wink, nudge-nudge thing. He’s a smug, unrepentant playboy in 1970s L.A. who confronts his failings after his girlfriend dumps him. Except since it’s everyone else’s fault for misunderstanding him, he’ll learn nothing and won’t change. Dig?”

RC: “Great. After writing ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ with Wes, I want to shake things up and make a movie that’s completely soulless and hollow.”

Seriously, movies don’t come much more self-congratulatory than “Charles Swan III,” which shifts the unfocused, ‘60s-nodding style of Coppola’s 2001 writing/directing debut “CQ” into something even more detached and insincere.

Swan is a wealthy designer who drives a car with bacon and eggs painted on it but needs to wake up and smell the coffee, since his beautiful better half, Ivana (Katheryn Winnick), has plenty of reasons to walk out on her selfish boyfriend. Instead, Swan, his best friend Kirby (Jason Schwartzman) and financial adviser Saul (Bill Murray) groan about women’s conniving heartlessness as the guys play victims and lament the poor condition of being horny guys whose significant others won’t just be happy with men who make no effort at all.

Displaying no recognizable human emotions, Sheen can’t even convincingly play a version of himself. “Swan” unfolds as if we should be dazzled by Swan’s misbehavior and fascinated by this scoundrel’s over-stylized fantasies (he dreams of popping out of his grave dancing and, later, his exes presenting him with the “Best Bull[bleep] Winner” award at a glitzy ceremony.). 

This pretentious jerk relaxes on a hot dog couch and mentions his toucan first in his audio will, but it’s not an indictment: Swan’s a me-first guy who thinks he’s entitled to everyone else’s adoration. Nothing in the film, which co-stars Patricia Arquette, Aubrey Plaza and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in thankless roles, suggests any painful comeuppance that results from Swan’s attitude.

A guy fixated on sex isn’t unique. A sleazy vanity project for a fallen star deserves to win that award Swan so proudly gave himself.
 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit www.pawschicago.org for more information.

  • Wabash Lights exceeds Kickstarter goal, hopes to begin test this fall

    Wabash Lights exceeds Kickstarter goal, hopes to begin test this fall

    The designers of an ambitious plan to install colorful LED lights on the underside of the Wabash Avenue "L" tracks raised almost $60,000 in a Kickstarter campaign that will allow them to move forward with a test of the project.

Comments
Loading

79°