This film can't even qualify as a dark horse.
Director: Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse)
Cast: Jordan Gelber (Changing Lanes), Selma Blair (The Family Tree)
Runtime: 86 min.
by John DeSando
“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.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org.
He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com