Listen Up Philip

Director: Alex Ross Perry
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 1.0

Novelist Philip Friedman (Jason Schwartzman, presumably playing Philip Roth), who is clearly disgusted with everyone around him and disgustingly cruel in his treatment of others, accepts a job teaching creative writing at a college (where he is negligent as an "instructor") and spends time with another crotchety writer (Jonathan Pryce, presumably playing Saul Bellow) in his home. Philip's 'personality' is so acrid and repellent it's unclear how or why Perry would ever imagine he was a good central figure to revolve a movie around, so when the movie's 'focus' drifts unexpectedly to Philip's jilted girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss) - in a side-narrative that goes nowhere - and to the Pryce character (still drinking and whoring and being a brilliant twat) it feels like a pleasant relief from being subjected to an already smug Schwartzman being encouraged to embellish that character flaw. Perhaps if Friedman's literary 'genius' was made more clear his personal transgressions would be more tolerable, but his writing talents are only alluded to. Also irksome: the extended voice-over (by Eric Bogosian).