January 9, 2018 – This Woody Allen-like black and white comedy about a successful comedy writer who suddenly runs into trouble in his personal and professional life was being pushed for awards before being pulled back due to sexual misconduct allegations against its writer, director and star, Louis C.K.
It is actually not a bad movie, but it will always be overshadowed by the controversy that led to its premiere being canceled.
Louis C.K. stars as Glen, a comedy writer who agrees to take on an additional TV series in the fall, to the dismay of his business partner, Paula (played by Edie Falco of “Bullets over Broadway”) who fears there won't be enough time write, shoot and air the series before the fall. It turns out she is right.
He might have been able to do it, but his personal life starts falling apart at the same time. He begins worrying about his 17-year-old daughter, China (Chloë Grace Moretz of “Clouds of Sils Maria”) who can talk him into anything, like skipping school and taking a charter jet to Florida, and then taking a trip to Paris as part of a group headed by a famous writer and actor, Leslie Goodwin (John Malkovich of “Deepwater Horizon”) who is 50 years her senior and who has a reputation for bedding younger women.
Glen and China meet Goodwin at a party held by Grace Cullen (Rose Byrne of “Spy”). Glen is a great admirer of Goodwin's work, and he plays down the rumors about Goodwin's reputation about younger women, but then changes his mind when Goodwin takes an interest in his daughter, especially when she talks about going to Paris with him.
Glen gets conflicting advice from women over what to do about his daughter. His friend Maggie (Pamela Adlon) advises him to be strict and set boundaries. Grace Cullen advises him to let China do her own thing, since she is going to turn 18 soon anyway. Glen lets China go to Paris with Goodwin, but he regrets it later.
When Glen decides to take Maggie's advice and tell China that she can't see Goodwin again, it is too late. She moves out of the house, gets a job and starts living on her own. At the same time, Glen, distracted by personal problems seems to be adrift and unhappy. He questions everything about his life and the choices he has made.
Glen shows up at an Emmy Awards ceremony and talks with Goodwin, Paula and Ralph (Charlie Day of “Pacific Rim”) who used to hang around his office all the time. Now, Glen, who was once a powerful show business insider, is an outsider, both in show business and in the life of his daughter. He seems quite sad. The ending of the film is not quite this downbeat. This film rates a C+.
Looking at this film in the light of recent revelations, some scenes take on a creepier tone. Several women have said that Louis C.K. masturbated in their presence. In light of this, probably the most creepy scene in this movie is just before Grace Cullen enters Glen's office for the first time. Ralph starts make motions with his hand in his groin area suggesting masturbation. He continues doing this in the presence of Paula.
Another creepy scene has China trying to seduce Goodwin. He is lying on the couch and she is on top of him, straddling him. Although Goodwin refuses to go along with this overture, and nothing else happens between them, this is a creepy scene. If this was a Woody Allen movie, it would even be creepier. China's character in this movie is like a Lolita character, played in a very sexy, suggestive way.
The sadness of Glen's character near the end of this movie, being an outsider, no longer invited to awards ceremonies is somewhat like Louis C.K.'s current situation. He has had a sudden, dramatic fall from grace. Up until November of 2017, he was riding high. This film was abandoned by the studio just as it was about to be released. Now, Louis C.K. is persona non grata in show business. Maybe he'll make a comeback some day. But right now, things look grim.
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