Charlie Sheen is an actor better known for his antics off-screen than for his on-screen talent, though this wasn't always the case. Sheen originally gained fame for his work in films like "Apocalypse Now" and "Red Dawn," but like many teen actors from the 1980s, he suffered problems as an adult. He bounced back by winning awards and gaining fame on the series "Two and a Half Men," but a public battle with substance abuse and the producers of that show led many to wonder if he would bounce back again. Starring in the film "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" probably won't help the situation.
Sheen plays Charles Swan III, a popular ladies' man who finally settled down with his girlfriend Ivana (Katheryn Winnick, "The Black Marks"). After she leaves him, he finds his life turned upside down. Though he frequently wonders if it's possible to save their relationship, he also wonders if he should let her go and move on with his life. His manager Saul (Bill Murray, "Ghostbusters") and friend Kirby (Jason Schwartzman, "Rushmore") come along for the ride, helping him battle with the night sweats and searing panic that he feels as his life collapses.
There's no doubt that "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" has a stellar cast. Schwartzman had lead roles in comedies like "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" and "I Heart Huckabees," and he received several nominations for his work in films. Murray is a comedic legend thanks to his roles in "Groundhog Day," "Caddyshack," and the "Ghostbusters" films. He also showed his range as a dramatic actor, winning several awards for his role in "Lost in Translation." Sheen also picked up a few awards for his work on "Two and a Half Men," and he garnered good reviews for his new series "Anger Management."
Unfortunately, "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" does little to further the careers of anyone involved. Reviews for the film were mixed at best, with some reviewers outright stating their hatred for the film. A reviewer for the website The A.V. Club went even further, giving the film a grade of F, claiming that it seems more like a commercial than an actual film. That reviewer isn't alone in his comments, though.
The main perception of the film is that it lacks any substance. It seems to come across more like a long dream that Sheen had than a film that not only found financing but landed in theaters. Sheen almost seems to relish playing his own real life out on the big screen, and some wonder if this film is his way of showing what he went through after his most recent divorce. The main problem is that Sheen is at his best when he plays a wild and crazy playboy, but when it comes to showing any real substance on-screen, he doesn't know what to do.
Some reviewers pointed out that Charlie Swan III shares a number of similarities with Charlie, the character that Sheen portrayed on "Two and a Half Men." The only difference is that this Charlie is even more unbelievable than that television character. There are moments in the film where Sheen actually pauses, as if he's waiting for the laugh track to kick in before realizing that this is film and not television.
Those willing to dig a little deeper into the film might find a few connections that others missed. Kirby and Saul are two of the main characters in the film, and while some reviewers focus solely on the acting, others noted the similarities between those characters and Charlie. Saul is clearly an older version of Charlie, a man obsessed with what he cannot have and constantly pining over younger woman. Kirby is like the younger version of Charlie, a young man who doesn't understand the opposite sex and what he needs to do to keep a woman.
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" is a complicated film that garnered mixed reviews upon its release. While some reviewers look at the storyline and the strong acting from Scwartzman and Murray, other reviewers focused only on the antics of Sheen and his poor acting in the film. The general perception from most is that this is a middle-of-the-road film that is worth a watch if a viewer stumbles across it, but that the film isn't one that anyone should seek out to watch on purpose. With its cast and inside jokes, though, "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" has a chance of becoming a cult film for comedy lovers.