Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime” may be just as crazy as “Happiness”

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Life During Wartime

"Moommm… Pee Wee Herman is glaring at you…"

Todd Solondz is back with Life During Wartime, a semi-of sequel to his 1998 masterwork (or, work about masturbation), Happiness. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to have toned down the no-chance-in-hell-it-would’ve-passed-MPAA-muster that made the first movie so refreshing. (That one featured the molestation of a young boy, phone sex, and one of the grossest and most memorable final lines in cinema. See it at once.) 

In a two-page New York Times review, the paper of record gives us plenty to look forward to in the actual final cut:

Trish’s freckle-faced, wide-eyed son Timmy (Dylan Riley Snyder) prepares for his bar mitzvah, at which he plans to talk about the relationship between manhood and forgiveness.

Bill has been released on parole, and he wanders across the country, from a sad sexual encounter (with Charlotte Rampling) in a hotel to an awkward reunion with his elder son, Billy (Chris Marquette), in Billy’s college dorm.

Ms. Adams and Jon Lovitz [sit] in an opulent restaurant acting out one of the most painful dates in movie history.

It is all perfectly dreadful and at times appallingly funny.

…the last word in the movie, a fitting and troubling epitaph for the first decade of the 21st century and the most complex and resonant punch line Mr. Solondz has yet produced: “I don’t care about freedom and democracy. I just want my father.” Should you laugh or cry?

This ain’t no party, disco, or fooling around.