Happiness

Happiness

4.5 2
Director: Todd Solondz

Cast: Jane Adams, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle

     
 

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After his 1995 breakthrough, Welcome to the Dollhouse, director Todd Solondz was courted by a number of studios to make a big-budget film with top stars. Instead, he chose to make this aggressively dark comedy-drama of perversions and twisted lives. Andy Kornbluth (Jon Lovitz) explodes with anger after rejection in a restaurant from Joy Jordan (Jane Adams), oneSee more details below

Overview

After his 1995 breakthrough, Welcome to the Dollhouse, director Todd Solondz was courted by a number of studios to make a big-budget film with top stars. Instead, he chose to make this aggressively dark comedy-drama of perversions and twisted lives. Andy Kornbluth (Jon Lovitz) explodes with anger after rejection in a restaurant from Joy Jordan (Jane Adams), one of a trio of middle-class New Jersey sisters. Joy's sister Trish (Cynthia Stevenson), a housewife with three kids, is married to psychiatrist Bill (Dylan Baker), who counsels the lonely, overweight Allen (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Allen is obsessed with Joy's other sister, the successful poet Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle), all the while ignoring the attentions of his seemingly sweet yet overweight neighbor Kristina (Camryn Manheim). Bill has fantasies of turning an assault rifle on families in a park, masturbates to teen magazine photos, and develops an unhealthy interest in a classmate of his 11-year-old son, Billy (Rufus Read). After a telephone sales job, Joy moves on to substitute teach at an adult education class, where she falls prey to the advances of an insensitive cabdriver, Vlad (Jared Harris). Allen's series of obscene phone calls to Helen come to an end when she challenges him to come next door and carry out his sexual threats. Meanwhile, the sisters' parents, Lenny and Mona Jordan (Ben Gazzara and Louise Lasser), find their marriage collapsing after 40 years. Lenny has sparked the interest of divorcée Diane Freed (Elizabeth Ashley), but he actually would prefer to be alone. The path to happiness, it seems, is littered with dreams, despair, and abnormalities. Winner of the International Critics' prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, Happiness met with much controversy both in pre-production and upon its release, as chronicled in producer Christine Vachon's book Shooting to Kill.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Easily one of the 1990s' most controversial films, Happiness evoked a broad range of opinions and emotions. Writer/director Todd Solondz, who debuted with Welcome to the Dollhouse, a portrait of suburbia as the site of a young girl's misery, followed it up with this troubling and thought-provoking exploration of the unhappiness that lurks behind the facades of normality. Some viewers objected to (or were impressed by) the frank depictions and descriptions of sex and masturbation, others were disturbed (or impressed) by the very idea of humanizing a pedophile by showing us the world through his eyes, and still others were troubled (or exhilarated) by that fact that they were laughing through it all. Where some critics saw daring originality, others saw self-conscious shock. Diverse story lines are skillfully balanced, and Solondz coaxes great performances from his varied cast. Love it or hate it, few viewers could deny Solondz's success in ensuring that a scene in which the pederast explains himself to his son is one of the most chilling and unforgettable of the decade. The movie may not always be pleasant to watch, but it is startlingly effective in making us consider the banal evil that goes hand in hand with our quest for happiness.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/03/2003
UPC:
0031398826620
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
NR
Source:
Lions Gate
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
2:20:00
Sales rank:
42,287

Special Features

Cast & crew information; 4x3 letterbox; 2.0 Dolby surround sound; Spanish, english & french subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jane Adams Joy Jordan
Dylan Baker Bill Maplewood
Lara Flynn Boyle Helen Jordan
Ben Gazzara Lenny Jordan
Jared Harris Vlad
Philip Seymour Hoffman Allen
Jon Lovitz Andy Kornbluth
Marla Maples Ann Chambeau
Cynthia Stevenson Trish Maplewood
Elizabeth Ashley Diane Freed
Louise Lasser Mona Jordan
Camryn Manheim Kristina
Rufus Read Billy Maplewood
Anne Bobby Rhonda
Dan Moran Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg Johnny Grasso

Technical Credits
Todd Solondz Director,Screenwriter
Maryse Alberti Cinematographer
John Bruce Art Director
Neil Danziger Sound/Sound Designer
Therese DePrez Production Designer
Nicholas Evans Set Decoration/Design
Jude Gorjanc Asst. Director
Ann Goulder Casting
Ted Hope Producer
Susan Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Robbie Kondor Score Composer
David Linde Executive Producer
Kathryn Nixon Costumes/Costume Designer
Alan Oxman Editor
Jim Ryan Animator
James Schamus Executive Producer
Christine Vachon Producer
Damien Volpe Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Ashtray [6:12]
2. Dozen Eggs [3:18]
3. Elevator [2:58]
4. Sibling Nonsense [3:11]
5. No Problem [3:49]
6. Used as a Verb [4:17]
7. Face-Lift [4:46]
8. State of Irony [4:12]
9. Rejection [1:25]
10. Cubicle [4:11]
11. Everything [3:26]
12. Scab [2:47]
13. Professional [2:32]
14. Tuna Sandwich [4:33]
15. Morning [2:18]
16. Home [1:58]
17. Measure [2:32]
18. Fresh Start [3:03]
19. Small Talk [3:11]
20. Busted [2:33]
21. Get Out [4:11]
22. New Jersey [4:24]
23. Tea [3:57]
24. Morning After [2:35]
25. Hospital [1:56]
26. 13 [3:53]
27. Return [3:45]
28. Tunisia [4:49]
29. Acceptance [2:58]
30. Pluses and Minuses [8:48]
31. Redial [5:35]
32. Loan [5:07]
33. Police [5:38]
34. Heart to Heart [4:36]
35. To Happiness [5:12]
36. End Credits [4:57]

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