Film Scouts Reviews


by David Sterritt

Todd Solondz made an offbeat directorial debut with "Welcome to the Dollhouse" two years ago, and his follow-up film is even more impressive. "Happiness" follows the emotional adventures of several characters including a lonely English teacher, her smug suburban sister, an overweight office worker who makes obscene phone calls to one neighbor while rejecting the advances of another, and a child-molesting doctor who uses a '50s-sitcom lifestyle to mask a secret career of raping classmates of his junior-high-age son. The film's deadpan attitude grows monotonous at times, but its seriousness and sensitivity are as unmistakable as the desperately mordant humor that has become one of Solondz's most striking trademarks. He is indisputably an auteur, as a friend of mine was quick to point out after seeing "Happiness," and charting his future should be a fascinating experience.

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