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
Ira is a nervous playwright waiting and hoping to succeed with his art, which he takes it very seriously. But following his dreams and ambitions isn't something easy to do, specially when ... See full summary »
Abe Wertheimer - an odious, purposeless, self-centered 35-year-old living parasitically with his parents (by choice) and working in his dismayed father's business office (avoiding work while scoping eBay for collectible toys) - meets Miranda, an equally pathetic but self-loathing social dropout who, having given up on life, masochistically accepts Abe's sudden proposal of marriage for a knowingly grim future she won't fight against. Along with projecting his own faults onto his father, his own jealousy for lack of success and accomplishment onto his younger brother, and wallowing in the blind support of his mother, it's just another aspect of Abe's unsatisfying life that he just can't see to improve. A long-overdue decision finally spins his insignificant life out of control. Written by
"You should just face the truth." (Abe) "What is the truth?" (Mom) "That we're all terrible people!"
I like quirky with the best of them, but Dark Horse is not at all as entertaining as director Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse and too depressing to promise a dedicated audience of nerds who usually require at least entertaining fare.
This story of an overweight loser, Abe Jordan Gelber (in schlubby Kevin James mode), is so negative that identifying with him is a difficult task for any audience member. Upon meeting another family "dark horse," Abe asks Miranda (Selma Blair) to marry him, as uncool und untimely a request as could be possible.
Yet, these two are soul mates, awkward outsiders with enough hang-ups to people a whole other dysfunctional drama: He collects Simpson's memorabilia and she sports hepatitis b. I just can't find anything else interesting.
Abe works for dad (Christopher Walken), is counseled for real or in dream by loving mom (Mia Farrow), and tries to tolerate his achieving brother (Justin Bartha). Solondz's direction allows intimate involvement with the two dark horses and their families, so there can be no doubt that the expected fates will be unusual to say the least.
Slow and dull, like Abe himself, the film skirts the bold satire characteristic of Solondz's previous work (he even blurs out the Toys 'R Us sign on the store, not once but twice). In the end, you have a portrait of a loser who really doesn't deserve the attention even 86 min gives him. I doubt this small film will be even a dark horse in any competition.
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