Release: Friday, February 8, 2013 (limited)
Okay. First of all, anything with Charlie Sheen’s name on it should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Actually, make that an entire shaker’s worth. If you ever saw the former-hit sitcom Two & A Half Men, you’d know his character in it was ridiculous and that a good portion of that show’s misogynistic leitmotif stemmed from it. He’s a boisterous womanizing drunkard, and he knows it. He even publicly fuels controversy over it:
“I was banging seven-gram rocks, because that’s how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear. Go.”
Or how about this:
“I will not believe that if I do something then I have to follow a certain path, because it was written for normal people. People who aren’t special. People who don’t have tiger blood and Adonis DNA.”
Ah, well then that explains everything! Tiger blood is to blame for several stints in rehab (questionable completion, I might add…), the removal of his kids from his own custody and put in the care of an actual adult (who unfortunately is lacking in tiger blood), the aftermath of the fall-out with Chuck Lorre, and more than likely, its A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III‘s only reason for being.
Regard, the one and only Charles Swan III. As the main character, he’s meant to be a little bit different than Charlie Sheen himself. In the film he’s a graphic designer, and a pretty interesting one at that (hence the eggs and bacon on his car). But please, cut the bullshit. We see right through it in Roman Coppola’s film when it becomes apparent how much he (Coppola) wanted the film to have an organic, semi-unscripted and “real” feel to it. And truth be told, this director forces his hand in the opening shots.
The script is extremely basic, the dialogue too, and there’s virtually no distinction between a likable and unlikable character throughout the entire thing. Of course, I knew that I should be expecting such low brow film-making when the entire feature would revolve around the tiger blooded Chuck Sheen. Still, I figured it would at least be a chance to see a more 3-dimensional version of the guy who went viral due to his insane interviews, or it could at the VERY minimum be an trashily entertaining way to spend nearly 2 hours.
Trashy was right — consider me the anti-fan of anything Roman Coppola at this point. Despite some interesting visual effects and “distractions,” a high school film student may as well have shot this. (No offense to you, high school student, this would have been a great first project. . . )
We begin with a therapy session where we learn that Charles Swan has recently been rendered single after his long-time girlfriend Ivana (Katheryn Winnick) breaks it off with him suddenly. Distraught but moreover drunk, Charles reacts by throwing his ex’s shoes — all gathered in a single garbage bag — down a steep hill. Or at least he tries to. It gets caught in a tree, and when he tries to move it and re-attempt the act of good riddance, he again fails. You might consider this one scene to be a microcosm of everything he does in the movie — and if you are particularly bitter, like me, it could be representative of this guy’s entire public life. Everything he tries to do to fix something becomes more epic than what had just happened, and with his attempts to “fix” things, the problems only get worse.
And so is the case with Charles Swan, who now feels the need to try and get back in contact with Ivana to tell her he’s sorry and that he wants to change, and prove himself worthy of love and worthy of being considered a “man.” Jason Schwartzman plays Kirby Star, a stand-up comedian and Charles’ best bud, and Bill Murray tags along (inexplicably) as Swan’s business advisor, Saul. Even though both of these central characters are similarly dysfunctional in some way or another, neither compare to Charles Swan and both are ultimately wastes of the actors’ talents through and through. I cannot understand why Murray was involved at all. At. All.
Maybe this was a favor Murray was paying Chuckles. . .
Whatever the case may be, all that really matters is that we get the Charlie Sheen preening I was anticipating; the film is his own private kingdom for grooming his already well-groomed, slowly fraying image. In his own terms, he is “winning” for some of the movie, then he goes very quickly in the opposite direction when he pursues his ex using the world’s most ridiculous tracking bug, a device that was more complicated than the entire premise here.
I would say there’s one other reason for this film to exist — to feed Charlie’s ego and make him feel better having just been fired — but you know as well as I that he probably doesn’t need it
For awhile there, I was appreciative of an actor who would simply go off the rails for the sake of making themselves a public spectacle (and I know how pretentious that sounds, trust me) — when the first interviews were televised and Charlie was heard saying certain things, I was a mix between excited and disgusted by the guy. I felt the movie might cater to this same hopeless curiosity, but what I got in return for my tiger-blood loyalty was a tiger bite in the ass. It’s a stupid flick, but in order to fully mine the depths of Sheen’s recent stupidity and depravity, the film lacked full-bore commitment to being stupid. Maybe instead a better description would be lazy and stupid.
You might ask why I should be so surprised by the quality of this picture. That’s a good question, but I’ll counter with the fact that you just never know what he’s going to be up to next. And for some strange reason, I believe the guy really thinks he’s winning still. I like the positivity!
Recommendation: If you are infatuated by his antics, pick this up to rent and quickly forget about — not voluntarily so, either. It’s just that the movie is literally a camera following Chuck in a day-in-the-life kind of fashion. If this is even possible, this was a squandered opportunity to show off a deeper part of the inner workings of Charlie Sheen’s mind. Turns out, it could be better (cheaper definitely) to just look him on YouTube for some of that.
Running Time: 86 mins.
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