"... its departures from realism have the effect of enlarging the narrow, unremarkable lives that are its focus, and by extension the audience’s sense of what those lives might mean." - A.O. Scott, New York Times
In his mid-30s, Abe (Jordan Gelber) clings to the trappings of his adolescence, including the extensive collection of toys and action figures adorning his boyhood bedroom. Still living with his parents Jackie (Christopher Walken) and Phyllis (Mia Farrow), Abe works for his increasingly disappointed Dad and spends evenings ruthlessly trouncing his Mom at backgammon. The success of his older brother Richard (Justin Bartha) only feeds Abe’s resentment and rage at his family over his own failures. When Abe meets Miranda (Selma Blair), whose personal and professional disasters have sent her scrambling back to the safety of her parents’ suburban home, he sees what he thinks is a chance at true love. Abe throws himself into pursuing the overmedicated Miranda in order to realize his dream of a fuller life.
Cast & Crew
- Justin Bartha - Richard
- Selma Blair - Miranda
- Zachary Booth - Justin
- Mia Farrow - Phyllis
- Jordan Gelber - Abe
- Daniel Genalo - Dancer
- Mary Joy - Lori
- Aasif Mandvi - Mahmoud
- Tyler Maynard - Jiminy
- Peter McRobbie - Arnie
- Donna Murphy - Marie
- Di Quon - Waitress
- Christopher Walken - Jackie
- Lee Wilkof - Phil
- Melisa Young - Wedding Singer
Reviews(see the best reviews)
Dark Horse Kept me engaged beyond my actual interest in the film;I was compelled to see where it was going.I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times at the absurdity of the circumstances and the well delivered comedic dark lines. I enjoyed the film despite it's dull demeanor because it had exquisite acting and the timing of the actors in delivering their performances was priceless. Watching the scene where he is leaving his office meeting;returning home with the secretary and you see what he is wearing I blurted out laughing. That is the kind of thing that kept me engaged. It's an awful film but it is terribly funny!
I like 'slice of life; movies, and overall, I found the film engaging enough to watch in one sitting. It *is*, however, something of a difficult watch, because there are no truly laughable or uplifting scenes. Even so, the absurdity of the situations was ultimately funny in a weird way. But if you are expecting the Coen Brothers, look elsewhere.
Some may feel that the 'name' actors were cruising through their parts, but I think that low-key is the point of the movie. The protagonist's father, for example, isn't an exceptional man; he's just an ordinary guy who created a somewhat boring business through hard work. Yet, he has a son who can't live up to even *that* small level of success, and he's powerless to both understand the problem, and to do anything about it. A more engaging/dynamic performance from Christopher Walken would have turned him into a kind of 'local business legend,' and seemed out of place. The same with the mother: she's just an ordinary woman who wants more for her son, but can't figure out how to make it happen.
I loveTodd Solondz, and while this isn't his best, it is well worth the viewing. His movies deal overtly with some of the most uncomfortable aspects of American life: race relations, male identity, child abuse, dysfunctional families, the impossibility of love, guilty parents, damaged kids, abortion, lost desire, and dashed dreams. He doesn’t temper his portraits with irony, as does John Waters, but faces himself and society’s problems head on. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry, which limits his commercial appeal considerably—audiences don’t like to be made to squirm in their seats. His films demand that we find the humor inside the pain and empathize with people that initially we want to laugh at. But movies should be about more than mindless escape-fests: Dark Horse and Solondz’s other films are right to demand more. Like other great satiric surrealists, the pleasure lies in trying to get your emotional bearings in the askew worlds that Solondz creates. Check out: http://timjacksonweb.com/?p=1963j
Really superb American cinema. Well worth watching.
life with obsession and priorities is a frustration dilemma but control and ugliness of life and characters pursue something not positive energy.
Anything with Christopher Walken is great and this did not disappoint
nice film. unexpected ending, I liked that.
Excellent, heart-rending film.
This is the story of Walter Mitty's loser brother. I was surprised to see so many well-known actors sleepwalking through this film. There was nothing they could do. I tried to laugh at the lines I thought might lead into some dark humor, just couldn't do it. Wasn't really there. The meaningless script left me with no idea what the writer was going for. There were no likeable characters, the closest they came was the secretary in the daydream sequences. I am just not sure why this was made and I have to wonder what was left on the cutting room floor. And, one last thing...How could they afford to pay for all the wasted talent in this movie, but wind up having to blur the logo for 'Toys R Us?'
I was bored and lost i interest in the movie.
A scary eye-opener. Absolutely excellent film. Whoever wrote it should win an Emmy. You never know what's real until the shocking ending. I'm still not entirely sure. One of those movies you think about after its over.
If you're a "loser", this, it will give you a great deal of understanding about yourself. Ought to be mandatory watching in mental hospitals ...and I should know. It might have saved me a few vacations there.
--faye , on fdrtikol's (bigger-screen) computer
Welcome to the deconstructive world of Todd Solondz. An amazing on-your -ear parody of the fat lovable loser comedies of recent years. Many are unlovable and pathetic , and bigots and insecure and deserve their place in society. And Solondz does it with an eye on our Disney vision of life and gives it a really big shake, pours it into a warm mug, gently encourages us to swallow it and allows us to regurgitate it, and says ...so be it. Maybe this brilliant filmmaker will be truly appreciated in decades to come, or maybe not...so be it.
This isn't drama, it's a tragedy. It reminded me of another film, starring Patton Oswalt, called Big Fan.
Not Solondz's best but better than most art house flicks.
boring movie with a difficult to like main character
There were parts I had to work to stay interested. Generaly I would have not watched a film like this all the way. But There is something that kept me hoping. I got the plot of the thing it just did not ever catch fire for me.