A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (R)

Comedy 86 February 15, 2013
By Nick Pinkerton
As he's questioned by a therapist in the opening scene of the film bearing his name, we see Charles Swan III's subconscious literally spurt out of his head. It's visualized as an animated collage largely made up of ladies' long, disembodied legs-- like those in the '40s pin-ups that decorate the Don Juan graphic designer's playpen home. It also indicates writer-director Roman Coppola’s approach with A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, which might generously be described as cut-and-paste—or more accurately as "throw stuff to the wall and see what sticks." Charlie Sheen starring in an ambitious indie might be the Access Hollywood selling point, but the Coppola brand brings its own cache. Sheen wears a coke-hangover look, including ubiquitous La Dolce Vita aviator shades that only come off for one scene, where he displays a heartbreak that is surprisingly affecting. I say "surprisingly," because performance can do only so much to alleviate Charles Swan III's inconsequentiality, which has much to do with Coppola's ginger depiction of hetero male fantasy life. Coppola manages one playful and sexy aside in which Charles imagines that his X-Ray Specs, the kind you order from a comic book, actually make denim disappear, but other than that he offers only fantasies in which dreaded, desired ladies are dressed up as squaws on the warpath, or as agents of the "SSBB" (Secret Society of Ball-Busters). With neither the moral bite of satire or a voluptuary surrender that really basks in shallowness, this is a vague, unsatisfying work.
Roman Coppola Charlie Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bill Murray, Aubrey Plaza, Katheryn Winnick, Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette, Maxine Bahns, Richard Edson Roman Coppola Roman Coppola, Youree Henley Swan Design Studios

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