Owen Gleiberman
May 11, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Funny Ha Ha

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
90 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/29/05
performer
Kate Dollenmayer, Myles Paige, Christian Rudder
director
Andrew Bujalski
distributor
Goodbye Cruel Releasing
author
Andrew Bujalski
genre
Comedy

We gave it a B+

The pauses and stammers, the thoughts that roll over each other, the skittery spirit of disconnection — for those, like me, who admire the films of John Cassavetes in theory but weary of them in execution, the trouble with his shaggy improv style is that it’s realism italicized, made overstated in its understatement. But time — or conversation, at least — may finally have caught up with him. Andrew Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha, an ebullient sliver of a movie, follows a group of men and women in their early 20s, and for once the un-dialogue dialogue doesn’t come off as an affectation. It’s the sound of the Tentative Generation — slackers who stutter to look cute, then use a phrase like ”Got it!” as a weapon. Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer), smart but careerless, with a sensual curl to her lips, is caught between her desire for love and her girlish compulsion to show no aggression whatsoever. She’s trapped in an abstract bohemia of the brain, and Dollenmayer makes her fumbling fragmentation a thing of awkward beauty.

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