John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Selma Blair, Julie Hagerty, Robert Wisdom
Widescreen; closed caption.
|With its two distinct, back-to-back segments ("Fiction," "Nonfiction"), "Storytelling" differs from writer/director Todd Solondz's relatively linear breakthrough film "Welcome to the Dollhouse" or the multiple-plot weave that he adopted in "Happiness." But this latest offering from Solondz shares his other movies' fixation on the dark underbelly of suburban American life. "Fiction," the shorter portion of "Storytelling," follows a college student (Selma Blair) from her ALS-suffering boyfriend's bed to a creative-writing class taught by a contentious, prize-winning black author and into an unexpected, incendiary sexual liaison. More developed and satisfying, "Nonfiction" tracks the fallout as an amateur director (Paul Giamatti) shoots a documentary about an alienated teen (Mark Webber), his dad (John Goodman), mom (Julie Hagerty) and siblings. There's a memorable payoff, even if Solondz's fondness for physically and emotionally damaged people packed more punch in his previous work.|