Todd Solondz, Donna Murphy and Jordan Gelber in person for Q&A!
The American cinema’s crown prince of comic discomfort, Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness), returns with another inimitably wry, hilarious, yet oddly compassionate snapshot of society’s second-place finishers. In his most visually dynamic and formally adventurous work to date, Solondz focuses on the solitary existence of Abe Wertheimer (the terrific Jordan Gelber), a 35-year-old man-child who still lives at home with his intrusive parents (Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken), works dispiritingly in the family real-estate business–where he indulges in Bunuelian fantasies about his father’s secretary (the dynamite Donna Murphy)—and seethes passive-aggressively in the shadow of his younger and vastly more successful doctor brother (Justin Bartha). When Abe meets (at the most memorable on-screen Jewish wedding since Goodbye, Columbus) downtrodden fellow traveler Miranda (Selma Blair), a brighter future momentarily seems in the offing. But this being the world according to Todd Solondz, rest assured that there is ample evidence to support one character’s observation that “We’re all horrible people. Humanity’s a fucking cesspool.” As in all of his best work, Solondz makes us laugh even as we shiver with awkward recognition at the things about ourselves that most movies never reflect back at us.