Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Stephen Adly Guirgis
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, who he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.
A woman breaks up with her boyfriend, he thinks it's because he's fat. A man is unable to tell her next door neighbor he finds her sexually attractive. An old couple wants to split up, but they don't want to get a divorce. A therapist masturbates to teen magazines. An 11 year old kid is insecure about the fact that he hasn't cum yet. Office workers try to recall the face of a coworker who recently died. A woman is sure she has everything she could ever want. The lives of these individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection. Written by
The sexual foibles, perversities and hang-ups of a trio of sisters, their parents, neighbors and friends--told in a low, slightly monotone, key. It's a rich carousel of scared, scary lives with an inter-connecting pattern: the disillusionment of coupling--and how one keeps trying to succeed in this department despite the humiliations. Pretty funny once you get the idea--and only if you're attuned to this kind of sick black humor. Not for the faint of heart, but extremely clever concoction from talented writer-director Todd Solondz (whose first film, "Welcome To The Dollhouse", struck me as a stunt). This one is frank, funny, and very warped--almost over-the-top in places, especially the ending--yet kept on track by the terrific performances. Some might compare this to the later "Magnolia" (they're both tapestry films), but "Happiness" is superior, and certainly less pretentious. *** from ****
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