Funny Ha Ha
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One of the beauties of Bujalski's writing and directing is the way little slights resonate with Marnie. She has to hear from Rachel and Dave (Jennifer L. Schaper and Myles Paige) that Alex (Christian Rudder), her longstanding crush, has just broken up with his girlfriend. That's ridiculous: She just ran into him, and he didn't mention that at all. But, as ''Funny Ha Ha" illustrates with great accuracy, that's life.
Structured around nonevent and inaction, Funny Ha Ha recalls Jamie Thraves's 2000 British indie The Low Down, a neglected mini-masterpiece of quarter-life malaise. Bujalski's film likewise thrums with ambivalent dread-underlying the characters' inert indecision is a reluctance to let the rest of their lives begin, not least for fear that it might prove an undifferentiated haze. The final scene is as close to perfection as any Amerindie has come in recent memory-in a single reaction of Marnie's, we see a small but definite shift in perspective; abruptly, Bujalski stops the film, as if there's nothing more to say. It's a wonderful parting shot for a movie that locates the momentous in the mundane.
A nerds dream, Kate Dollenmayer, not so pretty that the good lookin' guys whisk her away, but quirky, and cute enough for the nerds to go bananas. As a twenty-three year-old ex-college student, she is bored out of her mind by paper shuffling jobs and a social whirl that is not unlike dorm life, but more urban trendy in a run down apartment way. Ah, how we remember all those crash pads of yore. Nothing has changed since the sixties. Kate drinks too much, wanders around in a daze too much, and is in love with a guy as dazed and unsure as she. She could have sex anytime with anyone to relieve tension, but has sex not at all. A couple of kisses with a boy here and there are as much as our slackers will chance. I got a kick out of the Russian Scholar Woman's interpretation of Marnie's lifestyle in the commentary feature. She claims that two-hundred years ago falling in love was dangerous. Either you got married, had a family, or you killed yourself. Today, these slackers of the last half century take no risk in love. They merely move in circular social sets defined by their lack of articulation. No one ever says I love you aloud seriously. Every dude and dudette subsists in a soup bowl of ironies.
Bujalski's cast of characters is made up entirely of white urban youth in their early to mid 20's - that awkward period in life after an individual has finished college yet before he has moved on to building his own career and family. Given what appears to be their first real taste of freedom and independence, the characters do little but sit around, get drunk, and talk about their romantic relationships, but Bujalski observes all this without hysteria and judgment, thereby lending the film the aura of real life being caught on film.
The focal point is an attractive young woman named Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer) who drinks a bit too much, seems vaguely directionless and lacking in energy, and is somewhat inexperienced in the ways of love, but who, nevertheless, seems reasonably well grounded and knows her own limits as a person.
"Funny Ha Ha," despite its occasional raggedness and self-indulgence, is blessedly free of contrivance and melodramatics. These may not be the most goal-oriented or socially-conscious youth we've ever encountered in the movies, but neither are they the most troubled or self-destructive. They seem like pretty ordinary kids living in the moment and only vaguely aware that there's a world outside of themselves that they are destined to become a part of in the very near future.
The beauty of the dialogue rests in its ability to capture with uncanny accuracy the way people in the real world actually speak.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If this is where western culture and education have brought us, then please bring an end to both.
This movie is an ode to all those unguided, self-conscious, undecided,... Read more
If you like movies that make you want to stab its actors in the eardrums so they'll be forced to communicate solely through Facebook chat, because it's all they're fit to do, you... Read morePublished on August 9, 2012 by BB-8
I had to see some mumblecore titles for a class. I thought this could be the worst movie ever made, until I saw Hannah Takes the Stairs. This is the 2nd worst movie ever made. Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by A. Anderson
The 20 somethings here all speak in annoying stop/start semi-phrases, full of 'likes' and 'I means.' Was there actually a script, or did they improvise a lot of this drivel? Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Bradley F. Smith
A low budget drama of young American in a search for a partner while all her male acquaintances prefer sharing stories with her and a bed with others. Read morePublished on January 3, 2010 by Michael Kerjman
The only thing worse than some self-conscious dorks are self-conscious dorks on film.... Genuine 100% engineered coolness. Groovy.... Read morePublished on May 10, 2008 by -Ashi-
I don't have much to add to the precise, appreciative reviews posted here. This is indeed a film that draws its audience in mysteriously in spite of the fact that little happens... Read morePublished on September 23, 2007 by Wanda B. Red
A lot of trendy critics are praising this film like it's the future of cinema (the press have dubbed films like this "the mumblecore movement"). Read morePublished on September 22, 2007 by Grigory's Girl