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cast: Ellen Barkin, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Richard Masur, Debra Monk

director: Todd Solondz

93 minutes (15) 2005 widescreen ratio 16:9
Tartan DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Bob Neilson
""Wonderfully sardonic. Appallingly funny." So said Paper Magazine according to the original theatrical trailer, which makes up the entirety of the extras related to Palindromes on this DVD. "dares to go places no independent film has," is from Entertainment Weekly. "Brilliant and bold," said Roger Ebert. "Savagely funny," is how Time Out New York saw it.

Unfortunately I have to disagree with all these august journals. If they want to quote me I will give it to them up front and as concise as it comes: 'Shite.' - Bob Neilson. I mentioned that I was reviewing this film to a work colleague and he muttered something about multiple actresses playing the lead role. Now I had also heard this somewhere. It was all that either of us had heard and it is what this film is all about. Todd Solondz decided to be arty and experimental, and eight different actresses play the lead. No, strike that, eight different girls - because not many of them would be arrested if acting were a crime.

I suppose it makes his film stand out from the crowd but, as far as I am concerned, it was an experiment that failed miserably. Because of the change of actress between scenes the action felt as though it was viewed from behind thick glass, as though Solondz had placed his audience inside an aquarium and played the film around them allowing them to glimpse flashes of what he was doing and hear muffled cries from afar. Okay, I admit it, I could follow the plot, such as it was, but I really hated this film. And mainly because of the direction and the subject matter (adolescent sexuality, as always with Solondz), but mainly because I could not relate to the central character because there was no substance to her as played on screen by eight girls who weren't even bad enough to be memorable. No, I take that back, one of them was absolutely appalling. Maybe she was what Paper Magazine found funny. I could see no humour at all in this horrible mess. It's a one trick pony and the trick is boring.

I know I should just come out and say what I think, but it's not in my nature so I'll leave it for you to read between the lines to find what I really think. The absolute highlight of this DVD package is the trailers for other movies featured in the extras. Apart from that the only extra is the theatrical trailer for the movie itself.

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