Cinemassholes #2: Roger Dodger

10th June 2005

Amongst all the hoary old cliches you'll hear about the opposite sex, the only one that rings true is unfortunately the most unfair - girls love bastards. Think about it. How many times have you seen a truly beautiful woman on the arm of a speccy nerd, say, or an ugly comedian? Sense of humour my ass. Nope, the one thing that's guaranteed to get a girl's gusset damp is a mean streak a mile wild. Hollywood will normally tell you different, that the quietly spoken library attendant will eventually find love with the pretty but reserved canteen assistant, but what they don't show you is that when the credits stop rolling, some wide-shouldered jock with a dick that could chop down trees swoops in, penetrates your girlfriend and leaves her crying in a smouldering pile of hatred and self-doubt. Roger Swanson, however, is that rare movie character - a fast talking ladies man who gets the girls by treating them like shit, unravelling their personalities and taking great delight in reducing them to mere objects, and even better, making them feel like they get the better half of the deal. What an asshole. What a man.

Who is he? Roger Dodger, ad executive extraordinaire. He's a hotshot salesman living in New York City who specialises in thinking of ways to make people feel bad so they buy his products. Seriously, here we have a man who could sell roller-skates to Stephen Hawking and make him beg for more. Roger seemingly has the perfect life - a high-paying, satisfying job, a no-strings sexual relationship with Isabella Rossellini no less and a tongue so sharp it could punch through metal (just imagine what he does with it in the bedroom). When his naive nephew Nick turns up unannounced at his office and requests his uncle teach him in the uncharted ways of the woman, who is Roger to turn down an offer like that? As we come to see, sex is everywhere, as explicitly detailed by Roger in the bustling streets of NYC, sneaking looks down blouses here, catching glimpses of cleavage there... he'd be a plain old pervert if he weren't so damn good at it. Roger is not only the kind of guy who is chatting up your girlfriend when you return from the bar, but he's the guy who actually pulls it off, too.

The look If you can catch sight of him through the plumes and plumes of billowing smoke pouring from his mouth, then you're already one step ahead of most of the boyfriends he's just cuckolded. Roger is never less than immaculately dressed, pin sharp in his suit and tie and always with a cigarette in hand and an alluring look on his face. You might think Roger is smartly dressed for work, but in reality he's really only wearing those clothes in case a possible target should cross his sights - one should never be caught unawares walking around in their sweats and trackies. Roger can often be seen with his ex-girlfriend's panties callously poking out of his jacket pocket.

Asshole behaviour Where perhaps you and I would down a few drinks, set our sights on a lovely in the corner and work up the desire to go and utter a few ill-advised chat up lines to her in our local dive, Roger has the whole art of seduction down to a tee. He is in a constant state of total receptiveness, a "fucking lightning rod" for female charm. While this undoubtedly gets him laid more often than not, it is also his downfall. Watching Roger deconstruct a girl in a bar is much like watching an elite soldier strip a rifle down in seconds. He's become so good at the art of breaking women down, he simply doesn't know when to stop. Roger cannot stop berating women, like he's got some bizarre form of sexy tourettes. When you're so wise in the ways of women, your morals have to take a blow. Roger has no qualms at all in trying to get his sixteen-year old nephew fucked by high-class city girls, and when all else fails, he takes him to an underground brothel. Why can't all uncles be so considerate?

Typical dialogue [Talking to a girl at a bar] "I could tell you that what you think is your personality is nothing but a collection of Vanity Fair articles, I could tell you that your choice of sexual partners this evening was decided months ago by some account executive at Young & Rubicam, I could tell you, given a week to study your father and the way he ignores you, I could come up with a shtick that you'd be helpless to resist. Helpless. But what would you do with the information?"

As with most assholes, their behaviour comes from some deep-seeded desire to exorcise personal demons, and Roger's are clear from the outset. Whenever the thorny subject of his father is raised, Roger turns from a smooth-talking lothario into an abusive, scared little boy. And for all his talk on women eventually overtaking men as the dominant gender on the planet, he's seemingly not noticed that he's completely and totally under the thumb of his female boss, pathetically sneaking into her party and making a scene when he finds out he's been superseded by a younger model. A real shithead would go through with taking his young nephew to a hooker, but Roger has a sudden attack of conscience and pulls him out before Nick gets a chance to put it in. For these reasons, he cannot truly be considered a true cinematic asshole - morals have no place in this feature - but as far as true blue, straight-talking misogynists go, he's the James Bond of the real world. What a man.

Overall Asshole Rating: 67%

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