Among the many problems with the new Charlie Sheen film, A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan lll, is the problem of momentum. I’m not sure audiences are any longer interested in seeing Sheen play what is perceived as an extension of himself. Maybe a year ago, but not now. It’s like a train finally arriving at the platform only to find all the passengers have gone.
There’s not really a story in Charles Swan, more a series of events and fantasies. Swan (Charlie Sheen) is a Los Angeles graphic designer whose attractive girlfriend, Ivana, ends their relationship. “You’re all pants and no trousers,” Swan is told. What was probably a terrific life is now spiraling out of control.
The film is billed as a comedy. In his fantasies, Swan imagines his funeral attended by all the beautiful women in his life, a scene which eventually turns into a musical song and dance number. He imagines a western where he’s the cowboy and all the half dressed women are the Indians who go on the warpath and chase him. When he dons a pair of x-ray glasses, the kind you used to find in a child’s gift bag, he imagines he can see through the clothes of an attractive woman. Yes, it’s that kind of humor.
In its favor, the film has a surprisingly tremendous cast. Sheen aside, there’s Patricia Arquette as his sister, Jason Schwartzman as his best friend, Aubrey Plaza, Dermot Mulroney, and even Bill Murray, who delivers most of his lines as if he can’t be bothered. The film is written and directed by Roman Coppola, son of celebrated director Francis Ford Coppola, and I can only imagine favors were pulled.
Another plus is the film’s look. Nick Beal is the cinematographer and he makes everything look good. Colors are bright and vivid and images throughout are exceptionally well framed. When Swan’s vintage car, a ravishing looking machine with two fried eggs painted on one side and bacon on the other, crashes into a swimming pool, the image of the automobile sticking up out of the water looks less like real life and more like art décor. The image is a perfectly designed 80’s album cover, the kind that Pink Floyd might have used as a backup to their Wish You Were Here album.
The film runs a scant eighty-five minutes, but there’s not enough of an interest in Charlie Sheen’s indulgent character to fill out the time. There’s no real mystery about him, no intrigue and nothing to discover. In fact, there’s nothing we really want to know about him.
Some time ago I was taught in a creative writing class that in order for an idea to work it needs to have two things; wings to fly and the ability to land. A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan lll has ideas flying all over the place, but there’s no landing gear in sight.
MPAA Rating: R Length: 85 minutes Overall Rating: 2 (out of 10)