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Change of Pace for Todd Solondz, Director of "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happyness",
This review is from: Dark Horse (DVD)
If you know something about films of Todd Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse" "Happyness"), you know what you are going to see in "Dark Horse." His latest film is darkly funny, but the subject matter is no longer as unsettling as before.
Jordan Gelber is Abe, a thirty-something single male who refuses to grow up and meet the challenges of life. He is "working" at his father's company (actually, he is looking at eBay for action figures), living with his parents (Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken). Abe meets Miranda, recently divorced, and starts dating her. Overjoyed Abe later learns that she has her own issues. Then Abe falls into a downward spiral fuelled by despair.
We have seen someone like Abe in recent Hollywood movies. Abe is a much less likable version of Mark Wahlberg in "Ted" (or the talking Teddy bear), or Zach Galifianakis in the "Hangover" franchise. Todd Solondz sheds light on this type of character in his characteristic way, but what we get not particularly unique except for a few insightful moments.
Todd Solondz, who is also the director of "Storytelling" (where Selma Blair had appeared), has a knack for creating an unusual narrative structure. Sometimes Abe's reality is taken over by his fantasy, the gimmick doesn't end here. Donna Murphy's character Marie, Abe's office coworker, gradually begins to play a more and more important role as the film unfolds.
The idea is good (with the brilliant final scene), but its potential remains unfulfilled. "Dark Horse" is clearly a change of pace for the director, but fully a satisfactory one.