Todd Solondz's `Welcome to the Dollhouse' showed comic/absurd promise; his masturbation scene in `Happiness' overstepped the boundary of film taste but got everyone's attention. While I didn't enjoy "Storytelling" as much as I did the Director's two previous films, "Happiness" and "Welcome to The Dollhouse," Solondz continues to amaze with his depictions of just how awkward true life really is. As always, he masterfully shows the oft times tactless, cynical, transparent motivations of everyday suburban life and combines them with outrageous situations, giving a humorous view into the myriad of interesting quirky characters he creates. As with Happiness, Storytelling has no background characters. Each character gets fully explored in a way that no matter how familiar or foreign a specific character's behavior might be to you, you can't help but understand their motivations. Solondz can develop over 10 characters in 88 minutes while most conventional Hollywood films fail to portray just one in any given 3 hour "epic".
Selma Blair and Leo Fitzpatrick give incredible performances in the first segment of this film titled "Fiction". John Goodman is at his best here in the film's second segment "Non-fiction", not to mention it was a good to see Julie Haggerty in it.
One of the film's most honest moments (and there are MANY) comes in the beginning of the Non-Fiction segment, during a phone call Paul Giamatti gives to a female classmate he hadn't spoken to since high school. While hilarious, I couldn't help but feel bad for his character, which gets fleshed out in the almost confessional tone of the conversation (which of course, he blunders).
I don't want to dig far into the plot because the elements of shock and surprise that are Solondz bread and butter should only be revealed by others, suffice it to say I recommend this movie very highly. I look forward to anything this director does.