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Movie review: 'Dark Horse' surprisingly nice to characters

Published August 5, 2012 5:34 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"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.

movies@sltrib.com; nowsaltlake.com/movies —

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'Dark Horse'

Opens Friday, August 3, at Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for sexual content and language; 86 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.