In the movies of Todd Solondz, the world is a horrible place populated by miserable or unkind people. While there's plenty of misery and unkindness in the director's seventh full-length feature,"Dark Horse," Solondz also gives us something new, or at least less self-consciously misanthropic.
"Dark Horse" is a glum little sort-of comedy brushed with melancholic sweetness; for once, Solondz seems less interested in scoring points off his characters than in creeping into their shy, sad interior worlds.
Abe (Jordan Gelber) is an angry, pudgy 35-year-old who thinks the universe owes him more than it does. He lives at home with his mother and father (played, like desiccated husks of parenthood, by Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken) and works for his father's two-bit real estate management company, if you can call what he does "working": Abe spends most of his time tracking down "ThunderCats" gewgaws on eBay, while a sympathetic co-worker (Donna Murphy) covers for him.
But Abe's life may be on the verge of changing. At a wedding he meets Miranda (Selma Blair), a wispy, depressed young thing who also lives at home. Abe is so overconfident he can't see what a loser he is — he huffily tries to return an action figure to Toys R Us, threatening legal action when he's rebuffed by an officious clerk. But somehow, he believes in a future with Miranda, so strongly that he proposes to her on their first date.