Movie review: ‘Dark Horse’ surprisingly nice to characters
Published: August 5, 2012 05:34PM
Updated: August 8, 2012 05:47PM
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Selma Blair, left, and Jordan Gelber play an unlikely couple in Todd Solondz' odd comedy/drama "Dark Horse." Courtesy Vitagraph Films

“Dark Horse” tells the story of a fat loser, Abe (Jordan Gelber), who lives with his parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) and impulsively proposes marriage to a sad-sack woman, Miranda (Selma Blair).

This is familiar territory for writer-director Todd Solondz: depressed, lonely people whose insecurities are trotted out for Solondz’s and the audience’s perverse entertainment. (Consider the 1995 Sundance winner “Welcome to the Dollhouse” or his ironically titled “Happiness” as examples of Solondz’s misanthropic worldview.)

But a funny thing happens along the way: Solondz seems to start liking this character, for a change. Through Abe’s observations and healthy fantasy life, we start having an odd sympathy for him, too.

Gelber is a rare find, abrasive and charming in equal measure.

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‘Dark Horse’

Opens today at Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for sexual content and language; 86 minutes.