Listen Up Philip

Alex Ross Perry, writer-director-star of the breakout indie comedy The Color Wheel, has found the perfect mouthpiece in Jason Schwartzman; as a rising young novelist in the Philip Roth vein, Schwartzman delivers Perry’s dyspeptic, neurotic, supremely arrogant dialogue even better than Perry himself did in the earlier movie. The insufferable protagonist juggles several attractive women, but his real love affair is with an aging, Roth-like novelist (Jonathan Pryce) whose giant ego and icy reserve reinforce the younger man’s worst tendencies. For all the focus on literary talent, Perry never reveals what makes these two respected authors tick, aside from their abundant self-regard and their appetite for privilege; Perry heightens the bookish tone with an omniscient voice-over narrator (Eric Bogosian) who fills in some of the characterization but also calls attention to the filmmaker’s collegiate prose style. With Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter, Joséphine de la Baume, and Jess Weixler.