Rodger Dodger is a remarkable movie about the adventures of teen desperate to lose his virginity on a trip to New York to visit his uncle, who has the reputation of being a ladies’ man. No, this isn’t one of those teen comedies on the same topic, but a more grownup look at men, women, relationships, communication, sex, and how this tug of war between the two sexes is so complicated.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a 16-year old nephew of Roger Swanston (Campbell Scott), an ad executive who uses his knowledge of advertising to seduce women. Because he has practiced his craft hundreds of times on New York women, is very well informed on a range of topics, articulate, engaging, and not shy to share his unconventional views in any setting, he often is able to pick up girls without much effort. Nick, still a virgin, just shows up one day hoping to learn something from him.
Roger is arrogant and tough on Nick, but he sure knows how to strike conversations with strangers. Their first attempt in a swanky bar in New York goes well and two girls, Sophie and Andrea, (Jennifer Beals and Elizabeth Berkley) decide to accompany them to a park after Nick is thrown out for being a minor. At some point, Nick is able to have his first real kiss but that is where it ends.
They then crash a party at the house of Joyce (Isabella Rossellini) who is Roger’s boss and ex-lover. Roger arranges Nick and a colleague to be in the same room, but she is too drunk and passes out.
When Roger is thrown out of the party after being discovered that he was not invited, and in a last-ditch effort to help Nick, they head to a brothel, where just as Nick was about to get started, Roger pulls him away because he wants his first time to be special.
Subsequently, Roger visits Nick and his estranged sister, and is seen giving a lesson to Nick’s friends about girls, flirting, and seduction. It is a movie as much for teens as for grownups to hear a somewhat different take on women and relationships. Strongly recommended.
There are several poignant moments in the film and there are half a dozen videos on Youtube, but I found this one particularly interesting. It is not a segment from the original film, but actually a reenactment by some actors for a school project. Brilliantly recreates the scene in the New York bar.