Charlie Barker (Stephen Barker Turner) is another unemployed actor who mistakes his pomposity for a bold form of keeping it real, a wannabe who bores people to tears with his usually drunken, self-righteous tirades against the successful phonies of the world. Of course, Charlie is just a different kind of phony: a guy who wallows in his vaguely defined existential malaise to self-glorify his vices and betrayals. Charlie is a stereotype who doesn’t know it—basically your typical broke dude in a near midlife crisis who thinks he’s the first to have his dull problems. A few minutes with this nagging wreck inspires you to assume that his wife Stella (Daphne Zuniga), a pretty, successful TV producer, is harboring an especially perverse masochistic tendency.
Seducing Charlie Barker is watchable and competent. The scenes zip by at an agreeable pace, and there a few amusing lines here and there, but the film is the usual superficial malarkey about an ungrateful white guy who must content himself with two attractive women and a fabulous city loft—another glamorized loser fantasy. Charlie and Stella’s troubled marriage is mined for sitcom-level generalizations about couples, money, and passive aggression, while Charlie’s inexplicable fling with flaky super-hottie Clea (Heather Gordon) is nothing more than a typically unconvincing masturbatory fantasy. Gordon does have the best lines though, and she delivers them with a purposefully and amusingly stoned self-consciousness that recalls Amanda Seyfried’s delightful performance in Mean Girls. Seducing Charlie Barker is a big so-what, but you leave wanting more Gordon, who might be something in a more original movie.