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Overall Rating
4.05

Awesome54.48%
Worth A Look: 20.15%
Average: 11.94%
Pretty Bad: 2.99%
Total Crap: 10.45%

9 reviews, 80 user ratings


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Happiness (1998)
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by Johny

"Solondz looks at something more disturbing than Junior High"
4 stars

Happiness is what people are trying to find in this film, but is it there to find for them?

That's one of the questions that director Todd Solondz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE) poses in his new film that is already covered in controversy.

For those of you who don't know the story - October Films, owned by Universal Pictures, produced this film for a reported 3-4 million. When Solondz delivered the film, Universal wanted nothing to do with it and dropped it. It is now being distributed by Good Machine Productions in NYC and LA starting Oct. 16 and depending on it's grosses maybe to other large cities.

I'll admit it's easy to see why Universal dropped this film. The subject matter this film tackles isn't easy and it sure isn't pretty. Highlighting this point is the married character and father of 3 who loves his family and is a great father, but is....well...if you haven't heard yet I'll leave it a surprise.

I'll just say this isn't mainstream fare and is bring distributed unrated due to the NC-17 it was given by our friends at the MPAA.

This film is a character piece, much like Neil LaBute's recent YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS (also once slapped with an NC-17, but taken down on appeal). Some of the subject matter is even alike, but they are obviously two different films. NEIGHBORS seems much more hard-edged, which isn't to say this film is very audience friendly though. This film has a very distinct, and black sense of humor.

The acting is very well done from little known actors in their parts. Some just shine in their roles, giving you a clear portrait of their character. No one here was bad at all. Dylan Baker playing probably the film's most controversial character is deserving of an Oscar nomination.

The cinematography was simple and somewhat boring, but I don't expect Argento-esque camera movement in this film. It's a film driven on script and acting.

It runs over 130 minutes and is edited in a very different fashion than most pictures. It gives all it's characters a lot of screen time, but it comes in spurts. Solondz will leave you hanging in one story before jumping to the next and leaving in there for a long chunk of time. When watching this film I was given sort of an "uneven" impression, due to this. The thing is, some stories in the film are much more interesting than others. You are less involved in some character's lives because you just want to see what happened to the more interesting ones. Certain scenes in themselves are masterpieces, but as a whole the film is diluted by lesser scenes keeping it from a 5 star rating.

Still, this is a very good film that is not easy to forget or leave the theater with a clear head.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=432&reviewer=19
originally posted: 10/07/98 08:18:12
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell twisted trash wildly over praised by some critics yuck 1 stars
5/08/15 stanley welles a brave and brilliantly realized piece of work 5 stars
8/07/14 David Hollingsworth Savages, twisted and brilliantly perverse. 5 stars
3/13/14 PAUL SHORTT BLEAK BUT SOLID COMEDY-DRAMA WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
10/24/09 Peter Best review (alongside roger ebert's) Peerless black comedy, unusually harsh drama.Suberb! 5 stars
5/27/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess One of the best movies ever made... just make sure you have a strong stomach 5 stars
4/02/09 matt a great character drama and a hilarious black comedy. a little nihilistic though. 4 stars
8/11/08 erin u was disgusted the first time, learned to like it by the 2nd, total hilarity by the 3rd 5 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Tired foray into the Perversity=Art school of "independent" filmmaking.Yawwwwn. 2 stars
2/09/07 mckrob loved it ! 5 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Scaborous, black and biting comedy. Hoffman, Adams and Baker are tremendous. 4 stars
1/11/06 malcolm this movie was in the comedy section of my favorite video store. NOT FUNNY. 3 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. Very strange movie, the funniest part was the lady who killed the doorman. 3 stars
8/02/05 Indrid Cold The forced quirkiness is forgivable because it's so smart, funny and insightful. 5 stars
6/19/05 DM Well-acted and occasionally moving but relentlessly downbeat and sometimes mean-spirited. 3 stars
12/23/04 Nick Boyd very disturbing and insightful look at suburbia 5 stars
8/16/04 Peter James Don't mind the contradictory title...this one is plain brilliant 5 stars
7/14/04 Daveman Making a laughing stock out of manic depressives would be okay if it were actually funny. 2 stars
6/23/04 tokio dixx a masterpiece 5 stars
6/05/04 MyGreenBed Easily Solondz's masterpiece. Still has his brand of shock, though done with a point (?). 4 stars
5/29/04 Proteus Didn't stop laughing after the park scene - even as people walked out. Bleak and funny. 5 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Pitch-black humour for the sick fuck in all of us. Feel sympathy for the pedo. You will. 5 stars
11/19/03 s'tude This film made me feel uncomfortable unlike any film i've seen recently. Great acting. 4 stars
9/15/03 confused i guess you have to be stoned to get the movie? 1 stars
11/15/02 Stevo 'We're not laughing at you. We're laughing with you." "But I'm not laughing..." 5 stars
10/30/02 Charles Tatum Dare to be different 5 stars
10/11/02 rue the whirl solondz makes movies for the shock value, but doing so, he shows us how pathetic we can be 4 stars
4/24/02 Wyatt Winston Hell Yeah 5 stars
3/25/02 Gary Glitter Love it !!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/08/02 Spyguy2 The movie American Beauty didn't have the balls to be...mesmerizing & disturbing 5 stars
12/12/01 slappy jacks sticking pictures to the wall with jizz yeah!!! dig it one sick fuck of a movie 5 stars
8/30/01 Lee American Beauty with fewer outright laughs but more disturbing and thought provoking 4 stars
4/25/01 Spetters Wow! hilarious and unsettling! 5 stars
3/19/01 J.Arcane Better than American Beauty 5 stars
3/07/01 Scott It is found under comedy but you feel uncomforable laughing at this movie.I loved it 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Biting. Shouls be seen by everyone...with an open-mind. 5 stars
2/06/01 Classcidog Disgusting,perverted,disturbing,but funny as hell 4 stars
1/03/01 Lynkay I want a copy of this engaging, hilarious film! Reminds you of Woody Allen's style. 5 stars
12/11/00 meghan this movie was such a piece of crap. yet, i found myself watching the whole damn thing 1 stars
11/12/00 biggun great, hilarious, courageous film but a bit uneven in parts. 5 stars
9/27/00 Chris Jerome one of the worst movies ever 1 stars
9/06/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble child porn at its best. The director should be arrested. 1 stars
7/11/00 Jami Disgusting, repulsive, and perverted. 1 stars
6/24/00 Aaron White Eightball's Dan Clowes did the poster, with good reason. Ibsen meets Levittown. 5 stars
5/01/00 perverted pixie Ironic title, this film is so depressing its hilarious! 5 stars
11/13/99 Matthew Smith Disturbing and very confronting at times. 5 stars
10/28/99 Ralf Behet The director shows only little sympathy for his characters. Too little! 2 stars
10/27/99 hum depresing and great are not the same thing 3 stars
9/17/99 strike Very bleak and very funny.Great performances,great script,great direction. simply GREAT! 5 stars
8/21/99 Fork Lists up with fucked up films like "cemetary man" and "dead alive" but much worse. 4 stars
8/19/99 nostradmous Worst film all year 1 stars
8/02/99 Weird Andy It lit up my life. 5 stars
7/12/99 ken heine the dream scene was cool. 4 stars
6/25/99 cinebimbo The sick underbelly of suburbia exposed at last! Fuck "Shakespeare"--the best film of 1998! 5 stars
6/19/99 movie troll Perfect acting, perfect script, perfectly disturbing. 5 stars
6/15/99 Ver-Jun Move over orson welles, Todd Solondz is a film god! he is my new GOD! 5 stars
6/02/99 mammyrammer I came. 5 stars
5/13/99 Skye A very good movie I never want to see again. 5 stars
5/12/99 Dove Top of the class of 1999 5 stars
5/03/99 jenna devoid i see no necessity in procuring sympathy or humor directed towards a pedophile!! 2 stars
4/27/99 Annearchy, Damme, Satanne See this. Todd Solondz is a genius. Suburban nightmares. 5 stars
4/03/99 Lily I feel pain. Thank you. 5 stars
3/14/99 Ah Dooey Great movie. Hurts you right between the eyes. 5 stars
1/13/99 lawrence most amazing film in 10 years 5 stars
1/07/99 Jon sexcellent 5 stars
12/16/98 Sammy the CodFish A great film. Kicks you right in the guts. 5 stars
12/13/98 Amadou Best movie of 1998. David Lynch and Robert Altman should be taking notes. 5 stars
12/11/98 Mike McFaland probably the funniest movie I've seen in two or three years 5 stars
12/07/98 Gamma It was a good film, but I feel traumatized now. 4 stars
11/26/98 Missy You'll never look at family life the same way again... 5 stars
11/25/98 Bridgette who thinks of this? talk about original! 5 stars
11/22/98 Brindle I would say that it takes a lot to shock me and leave me somewhat disturbed! This did it! 5 stars
11/15/98 dforcher Interesting. Fast 2 hours. Examples of how sexuality ties into pursuit of happiness. 4 stars
11/13/98 Lord Of The Dunce One of those films that disturbs and enthralls. Solondz is da man. 5 stars
11/02/98 foozil Look! They're all miserable! Isn't that great?!? 1 stars
10/21/98 grunter brilliant daredevil cinema; dizzying, jawdropping script; best "cum" scene of '98!!! 5 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool The performances in this movie are uniformily brilliant. 5 stars
10/19/98 Vincent A worthy follow-up to WELCOME... but nearly as great as has been suggested 4 stars
10/18/98 Chris It was a happy movie... Or Not. It was great though if you are old enough go see it! 4 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz Depravity in the ’burbs. Certain to be the most-talked-about indie of the year. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Oct-1998 (R)

UK
  16-Apr-1999

Australia
  25-Mar-1999 (R)


Directed by
  Todd Solondz

Written by
  Todd Solondz

Cast
  Jane Adams
  Dylan Baker
  Ben Gazzara
  Marla Maples
  Jon Lovitz



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