palindromes.jpgWhen I first saw Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse nine years ago, it felt like some kind of revolution - it was absolutely like nothing I had ever seen. Of course, I was only 15 at the time, but that fact should add, and not detract, from the film's achievement. I was young enough to still be intimately in touch with the horror and humiliation of adolescence, and I sat in the theater jaw-dropped, just completely blown over by the audacity it took for Solondz to take that kind of ickiness to its (mostly very true) extremes. It was self-assured filmmaking that knew exactly what it was doing.

That's why it crushes me to say that Todd Solondz has become a filmmaker that I simply don't care about anymore. Say what you will about the relative ups and downs of Happiness and Storytelling, but despite a few shining moments I've never again watched a Todd Solondz film and felt that the guy was really in control of his craft. His latest, Palindromes, alternates between making its ideas too easy (people are "plaindromes" because they always end up the same way they began) and being difficult for the sheer sake of being difficult ([ight actresses] X [one role] = is that really necessary?). What are we suppossed to glean in the in between?