(director/writer: Todd Solondz; cinematographer: Andrij Parekh; editor: Kevin Messman; music: Michael Hill; cast: Jordan Gelber (Abe), Donna Murphy (Marie), Selma Blair (Miranda), Mia Farrow (Phyllis), Christopher Walken (Jackie), Justin Bartha (Richard), Aasif Mandvi (Mahmoud), Mary Joy (Lori), Tyler Maynard (Jimmy), Peter McRobbie (Arnie); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ted Hope, Derrick Tseng; Goldcrest Films (Vitagraph Films); 2011)
“Acerbic character study.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Todd Solondz(“Life During Wartime”/”Happiness”) helms this acerbic character study of a paunchy, belligerent 35-year-old loser, Abe (Jordan Gelber), living with his wealthy Long Island residing parents. His mom is weak and coddling (Mia Farrow) and his dad is gruff (Christopher Walken).
The son has a soft job working in dad’s company, and drives a yellow Hummer. The family favorite, to Abe’s chagrin, is his estranged medical doctor younger brother Richard (Justin Bartha).
At a Jewish wedding Abe meets his soul mate, the self-loathing thirty-something Miranda (Selma Blair), who also lives with her parents. The dour couple plan on marriage despite her lack of interest in him.
Like his other misanthropic films, this melancholy one is jaundiced and has its fun ripping horrible bourgeois types who take for granted their privileges and entitlements. Nothing new from the director, but it’s an accomplished work.
REVIEWED ON 7/8/2016 GRADE: B-