MIFF Review: Funny Ha Ha (USA)

Funny Ha Ha

This debut feature from Andrew Bujalski is an unusual festival film in that it did the rounds four years ago. But with Larry Clark’s newbie, Wassup Rockers, being cancelled, the audience that chose to stay and risk their ticket money on an unheralded American indie flick were given a satisfying if unspectacular treat. The film is a refreshingly mature and unpretentious observation of the people, situations and comic minutiae that flitter about and involve Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer), the central character. The predominantly young audience at the screening obviously found plenty to empathise with—both with laughter and the breathtakingly cringe-worthy moments of insecure flirtatious mumbling or inconsiderate throw-away insults. Bucking the stereotypical debut pitfalls, this is not an undergrad’s stab at ennui or a hyperkinetic pastiche of genres, thank God. And, though it might seem a relatively slight film, its honesty, warmth and humour suggest a young filmmaker with an excellent ear for dialogue and a confident hand with actors.