Andrew Wood, MFA, Yale School of Drama • Essentials Online starting soon. • Call for a Free Informational Session • (323) 836-2176

I feel so sorry for Jesse Eisenberg

He plays opposite Jason Segel in The End of the Tour. Segel plays David Foster Wallace, who had just been hailed as the greatest writer of his generation. Eisenberg plays David Lipsky, writer himself and reporter for Rolling Stone, who joins Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for his newly-released masterpiece, Infinite Jest, in order to interview Wallace.

Segel. Is. Brilliant.

People who are worried about a crisis or a decline in American acting need look no further.

Eisenberg, who can be pretty good, turns in a lackluster performance here. But even if he had turned in a credible, serviceable performance, there is no way he could avoid looking mediocre next to Segel’s achingly vulnerable portrait of a tortured soul.

Given that Eisenberg has sometimes been good, I suspect that he may have made some bad assumptions here. His Lipsky seems envious and petty at times. And perhaps that was the design of the script. But as an actor, Eisenberg needed to look further than that, and find what was compelling about this guy, find something to connect with. And that, he didn’t do.

And this was not a good movie to forget to do that in. Because he is left flat-footed opposite the brilliant Segel.

I have to say, when I had that Segel would play Foster Wallace, I was surprised. Seemed like an unlikely choice. But I was completely convinced. Segel should go home with a trophy for this one, if there is any justice in the world.

That, however, remains to be seen.

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2015-08-01T00:24:08+00:00