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Listen Up Philip


Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Yusef Bulos, Samantha Jacober, Joséphine de La Baume, Dree Hemingway, Keith Poulson, Eric Bogosian (narrator)

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Philip (Schwartzman) is a writer. He has just published his second book. No one likes him. His personality is consistently confrontational, not to mention hostile, and any compliments are irritably thrown back in the giver's face.

He invites his 'favourite ex-girlfriend' (Jacober) to a coffee bar, but things soon turn sour. 'Did you ask me here,' she says, 'so that you can talk about yourself?' She leaves.

His current girlfriend Ashley (Moss) is becoming equally indifferent to our hero's supposed charm. She drifts out of his life while he's taken under the wing of an equally short-fused veteran author (Pryce, with a drolly on-target American accent) who eventually gets the cash-strapped Philip a job as a lecturer.

When Philip returns to Ashley, she finds him as morose, dissatisfied and bad-tempered as ever, and jealous of her own progress in life while he's been away. 'You're a miserable person,' she tells him, 'so it makes sense you'd be miserable at tuition.'

Like its leading character, the movie, besides being beset by shakin'-all-over camerawork, is boring, self-absorbed, claustrophobically bad company and goes nowhere (slowly). Avoid.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Eureka. Colour by Kodak.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 31 May 2015