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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look60%
Average: 22%
Pretty Bad: 2%
Total Crap: 6%

5 reviews, 20 user ratings

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by Greg Muskewitz

4 stars

Siphoning off of his previous film, Todd Solondz divides this film into “Fiction” and “Non-Fiction.” The first segment has frustrated, pink-haired Selma Blair, opining over dumping her boyfriend (“I thought he’d be different — he’s got CP!”), or sleeping with her creative writing professor. The second segment features a disillusioned youth named “Scooby,” who is the focus of a documentary with morphing expectations and focuses.

Neither story is connected to each other, though both concentrate on the odd ducks or typified “losers,” as with Solondz’s other films. Unfortunately, equal time is not spent on both halves, for the former is more like a quarter, and the latter, three. “Fiction” is the better defined of the two, but its summation still leaves one in want of more development or exploration — which is more than can be said for the second. The parodying and satirizing of writing and writers and their pretensions (“It reminded me a little bit of William Faulkner, only East Coast and disabled”) is hardly a unique thing to come across, but in a case such as in Storytelling, the perspective from which it is told is what makes it worthwhile and distinct. Still, where Solondz was going, I don’t know. The same can be said for the “Non-Fiction” moiety, only it is even less clear what Solondz’s aim is. He captures a portrait of a disenchanted teenager with particular prerequisites, but the type of character he chooses is so much less defined, unusual, original, etc. There’s even less room for sympathy, identification or like of these characters; though Solondz doles out animosity for certain characters’ actions or behavior in his previous films (and with this one), there is usually one character left that still has the room left for understanding. Maybe he’s trying to wipe away the idea of innocence from the human being altogether; a child’s naïveté and scheming, or a maid’s defensive denial is just as much of a “sin.” Without the “lovable loser,” so to say, the loser becomes an objectified loser, an affected loser, a poorer creation used only to go through the motions. And that is to say that the material, the form, the emphasis, is rechauffé. The film elicits a mixed reaction, but the fact that it did still elicit a reaction, is saying something — even if the rest is not.

With Mark Webber, John Goodman, Julie Hagerty, Paul Giamatti, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom, Lupe Ontiveros, Jonathan Osser, Noah Fleiss, Franka Potente, and a cameo by Conan O’Brien and Mike Schank.


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originally posted: 10/06/02 12:34:43
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User Comments

5/30/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess A deadpan satire so black that you can develop film in it. 5 stars
4/29/09 brian MyGreenBed ironically gets it exactly wrong; this makes fun of self-hating suburban whites. 4 stars
9/25/06 Bitchflaps Better than Happiness in that the humour seeks make a point, rather than merely shock 4 stars
1/01/06 Indrid Cold The insightful, pitch-black humor is great, but it doesn't quite add up to a great movie. 4 stars
12/11/05 malcolm kinda captivating but ultimately left me thinking 'why?' 3 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. This movie was decent, but would liked to have seen the deleted Van Der Beek part 3 stars
6/23/04 tokio dixx super!!!! 5 stars
6/05/04 MyGreenBed Trying desperately to shock for the sake of shocking. For self-hating suburban whites only. 1 stars
2/10/04 john smith interesting how the writer-producer joins the rest of the holocaust deniers. 1 stars
9/21/03 y2mckay Just well-written enough to remain interesting, when not dragged down by pretentiousness. 3 stars
5/26/03 Danny Marchese a pathetic film that comes to a careening halt after sexy selma's sex scene is done 1 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby Flawed but endlessly fascinating. Good for repeat viewings. 4 stars
11/16/02 Cheryl White Woman Lover Of Black Men I am a white woman who has often dreamed the see between selma blair and the black stud 5 stars
8/19/02 Caiphn Tellurium, you tard. 3 stars
7/19/02 spyguy2 If you liked "Happiness" you are going to love this...totally engrossing and twisted. 5 stars
2/21/02 Thor-Leo I loved "Dollhouse" and "Happiness" but this one doesn't come near either one. 2 stars
2/15/02 JB HAPPINESS better/same director. Also V. Der Beek is not in this movie. 3 stars
2/14/02 Dave ( Typical Solondz brilliance, but cuts were a mistake 4 stars
2/13/02 Justin Decent, but nowhere near "Happiness" 4 stars
12/08/01 Steven Wilson Dark, funny, slightly sick and brilliant! 5 stars
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  25-Jan-2002 (R)


  09-May-2002 (M)

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