Funny Ha Ha (2002) Poster


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Boston... Land of the angry brunettes
deancapetanelis9 September 2005
Sitting through this movie is just like the tedium of actually trying to find a date in Boston. This movie, much like most of the city of Boston is populated by men who can't find a date and the women who don't want to date them. So OK, the director basically held a mirror up to my early 20's when I was that underemployed guy sleeping on the floor on a foam pad with my girlfriend in that little Queensbury Street studio apartment. So OK it really is not a very forgiving city when you're single and lonely. Unfortunately in this film there is no real story worth caring about. Some shallow people do shallow things hoping no one notices how shallow they are by punctuating every movement with witty pseudo-intellectualism. Again, just like living in Boston. So for that I applaud the director. He really captured the Hub at its grittiest. That and the film is so refreshingly free of production values. It's like looking at old home movies of people you once cared about but have since outgrown.
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Good "slice-of-life" movie, but is it interesting?
kolyanbogie22 September 2006
Looking like a documentary, this movie captures well life at the age of the characters, that I remember when I was that age: direction-less and insecure. The problem is, a glimpse into people's personal lives aren't necessarily interesting, and I wanted more to happen or for the story to be more interesting. I also wondered why characters we saw a lot of in the beginning of the movie, simply disappeared with no explanation. Alex's unexpected marriage was never explained, nor did Marnie seem to try to find out how this marriage came about. In keeping with the theme of a segment of someone's life snipped out randomly and put on film, the ending provided no resolution to anything, but I felt it could have been less abrupt and arbitrary.
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the joke's on us
scrybbler25 February 2009
This seemed to be just the kind of movie I enjoy, but turned out to be a shell of the same.

The director gets some things right, like his choice of star and some of the scene pacing. Dialog and character interactions breathe properly; they're languid and yet vaporous, as some other reviewers have said.

Too bad they all come to nothing. Marnie's a vacuous amalgam, not a character; she's the camera, not a human being. Encounters and relationships don't build through sequence or consequence; almost nothing happens that informs or affects a subsequent scene. Through her, we see the other characters, who are almost universally portrayed by much lesser actors. There's no character arc; the script feels self-indulgent and ultimately trivial. The entire movie is Marnie amused, Marnie bemused, Marnie bored... audience bored.

Bujalski had the pieces to make a remarkable film, but instead he never got the transmission out of neutral.
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Disappointing, but has its moments
alexduffy200019 June 2003
I saw "Funny Ha Ha" at the IFP LA Film Festival on June 18, 2003. It's an attempt at naturalistic filmmaking. It has its moments, but the movie intentionally has no plot, and for some reason this works against the film (ha ha). "Life has no plot" is the theme, but they picked a life that's not too interesting, the life of "Marnie" played by Kate Dollenmayer. Incidently, in real life she is or was the roommate of the director (Bujalski), and they are both graduate film students. So you have the educated elite portraying what they think "real life" is all about.

Since is was a film festival, I got to ask the director (Andrew Bujalski) about the ending (no spoiler here). I found the ending quite disappointing, but he (and others in the audience) seemed to find the ending satisfactory since the end wasn't "pat." His explanation of the low-budget process of making the movie, and his decision to film it on 16mm film in Boston were actually more interesting than the movie itself.

The characters in this film are white college graduates who are happy or unhappy with their lives after graduation. It's hard to root for any of them, they basically come across as a whiny elite who live in nice apartments and complain about their shallow lives... it's pretty forgetable. Bujalski is quite skilled as both an actor and a director, but he needs a more compelling story to tell, where we actually care about what happens in the next scene.
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Whiny, unhappy people
paul2001sw-115 March 2008
An ultra-low budget film about aimless twenty-somethings wasting their lives brings to mind Richard Lindlater's 'Slacker'; and while Andrew Bujalski's film lacks that movie's experimental formlessness, it does share something of the same mood. The cinematography has the feel of a super-eight home movie; but the piece is acutely observed and feels real throughout. Unfortuantly, it's just not that interesting, in part because its characters just aren't that interesting, and in a sense this isn't accidental; their directionless existence owes much to the fact that they simply haven't lived enough to have anything to care about, anything to say. And while there should be a profound sadness underpinning this, and some sociological analysis, the film never seems to scrape below its surface of whiny, unhappy people. You wouldn't dislike these people in real life, but if they have any notable attributes, they're not on display, and you wouldn't go out of your way to spend time in their company. But what's true of the characters is sadly also true of the film that contains them.
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Deserves more than one sitting
Katie Herdy26 July 2005
It took me a couple of hours after I finished watching "Funny Ha Ha" to realize that I'd seen a terrific movie. It raises so many little questions and offers so many quiet insights that one sitting isn't enough. While its title might fit one of those saccharine studio "youth" pictures where Reese Witherspoon lands her dream job/dream guy by being relentlessly spunky and charming, it's actually the perfect antidote to that sort of thing.

This film examines the awkward period after college and before reality pounces. It isn't neatly plotted, but feels as gawky and half-formed as its post-adolescent characters. It doesn't quite know what to say next, and when it does latch on to an idea it usually evaporates before reaching a conclusion. It looks thrift-shoppy, with grainy photography and a lighting scheme that owes more to Home Depot than the American Society of Cinematographers. It's shot in cruddy apartments and tacky offices.

Writer/director Andrew Bujalski films his shaggy-dog story in a stammering, hesitant style that fits perfectly with his protagonists. It's a wonderfully accurate portrait of aimless youth, which movies love to celebrate as freedom and adventure, but which is actually pretty boring most of the time.

Marnie, the 23-year-old central character -- let's be charitable and call her the heroine -- doesn't have a firm idea of who she is, where she's going or what she hopes for from life. She keeps a notebook full of self-improvement initiatives such as "Go to museum" and "Spend more time outside." She's a slacker's slacker stuck in a quarter-life crisis, and one of the best-rendered characters I've seen in an American movie since "Sideways." The lanky Kate Dollenmayer is wonderful as Marnie, giving her inarticulate dialogue the ring of everyday speech. A nonprofessional actress, she was one of the animators on Richard Linklater's "Waking Life," and she fits perfectly into that appealing, eccentric universe. Marnie can't express a thought without backing up and approaching it several times. Observing her conversations is like watching someone learn to parallel-park.

Marnie is at loose ends, temping and hanging out with old school chums, but unable to commit to any decision that would move her life forward. When she's buzzed, she visits a tattoo parlor, but can't decide whether she wants a geometrical design or a cow. The patient owner eases her out the door.

In a twisted come-on line, she tells an available fellow at a party that she thought about becoming a nun, but hasn't been "completely chaste." Her romantic sights are mainly set on Alex (Christian Rudder), who continually half-flirts with her before dancing away. Still, she claims to have a boyfriend when a drab co-worker (Bujalski) asks her out. They have a series of non-dates, cringe-inducing affairs in which polite chat can't disguise the lack of a spark between them.

Alex has a couple of coffee dates with Marnie, too, and she comes alive in his presence, revealing a goofy sense of humor and confidence she can't tap into under other circumstances. Unfortunately, he's just stringing her along. The film builds to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment when Marnie sees him in a new light.

"Funny Ha Ha" will exasperate mainstream moviegoers, but patient viewers will find it insightful and funny and sad. It's destined to have a long life in many a video store's "cult-classics" section.
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This made "Bio-Dome" look like Raging Bull
NV2Texas27 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Who goes around throwing beer off a balcony when trying to impress a girl? Who thinks that playing with coffee creamer is a laugh riot? Who sits on the grass to eat a crappy lunch and figures it's OK to make fun of people playing with a frisbee? Who speaks and acts like these people? I went to college in Austin and have been around my fair share of whack jobs but the writer/director who came up with these characters is really reaching. The absolute worst screenplay and acting I have ever seen in any film.

I've seen much better work from 6th graders on a class project with a VHS cam. This film should never have seen the cinema. Its distribution is a testament to the fact that anything can and will be made and marketed. Absolutely dreadful.
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A haunting original
Hal Jordan22 July 2005
The unabashedly teensy-budgeted Funny Ha Ha, written and directed by Andrew Bujalski, is actually more like Funny Strange—or even Funny Unsettling. You might be tempted to walk out in the first 20 minutes, which seem artless and aimless: not very fascinating people making not very fascinating small talk in drab settings. The by-default protagonist, Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer), is a listless 23-year-old between jobs and quietly smitten with an old friend, Alex (Christian Rudder), who has just broken up with his girlfriend. Does Alex like her? Other friends, among them Alex's sister, don't quite know. Alex, it seems, doesn't quite know. Marnie doesn't communicate her affections very forcefully. In fact, she does nothing very forcefully. She drinks a little at parties, she lies around, she hangs out with laid-back friends, and she floats.

Floating, indecision, the indefinite: This is the gray arena of Funny Ha Ha. The surprise is how the movie comes together and gets under your skin before you even know why you should give a damn. What seems improvised and random turns out to be controlled, at times cunningly shaped, and the surface of nonsequiturs and random shrugs conceals fairly intense emotions—the emotions of self-consciously cool, easy, inarticulate people afraid to pin anything down. The nonaction is set (in what appears to be Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville) in midsummer and has a midsummer formlessness—an extension of the kind of languor you feel in those hazy dog days before the sudden hardness and definition of fall.

Dollenmayer becomes more and more fun to read. A young woman with long limbs and sleepy eyes on a big, open face, she's just the sort of beauty whose self-effacing vibe would make her less than magnetic to really handsome guys and madly irresistible to nerds—who think that maybe, just maybe, they'd have a shot. The one she attracts is played by the director, who makes himself look very unprepossessing, indeed. In fact, he's cringe-worthy. The character he plays, Mitchell, tries to make a virtue of his self-deprecation: Loathing himself is obviously all he has to think about. He's so unappealing that it really would be a sign of self-disrespect for Marnie to go to bed with him. Fortunately, he's too lame even to press his case. But she'd be no better off with adorable Alex, whose boneless diffidence seems increasingly selfish and calculated.

Funny Ha Ha is a bit of a stunt. How can intelligent people, even slackers, be this vaporous? No one talks about life, the world, politics, music, movies—anything concrete. But out of this vaporousness, and within the narrow parameters he has set, Bujalski has made an indelible film...

by David Edelstein,
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A show about nothing.....
MarieGabrielle2 September 2006
where have we heard this before? Ah yes, Woody Allen on down to his character actor acquaintance Larry David (creator of Seinfeld), etc...., etc.... Yes, it was once a novel idea. In 1979.

Has anyone who watched this ever seen Woody Allen's "Manhattan"? you will be interested in the parallels.

This was filmed primarily in Allston and Cambridge, and I agree with an early reviewer, who stated that a mirror image of his own single life there was reflected. Imagine each person living in The Back Bay or South End with a similar story. After all everyone has experienced the void of dating, working in Boston,(or any metro area city) and going home alone on your birthday. Not exactly earth shattering.

Kate Dollenmayer is not bad as the primary character, but Andrew Bujalski has so many Allen-like mannerisms, it is almost embarrassing to watch. The only members of the audience who will not pick this out would have to be 17 years old, at most.

There are a few decent scenes, the awkwardness Kate feels with an old boyfriend, the vacuous conversation at a keg party, but really; is this considered different?. If it is, then next time you or I go to the supermarket we should tag along someone with a handy cam, start a conversation, and we too would be considered a writer/director.
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uff da
bbojojo9929 December 2004
I knew sort of what to expect when I read that this movie was a character study...but oh, how bland. If it is a MOVIE, then I think a movie should have to contain more elements to qualify as such. Then again I am not a film student--nor have I ever professed to be one--so perhaps my opinion is not important. I do not know many people who are like the ones in the movie, so I cannot relate as some commenter's did here ("Sooooo familiar") Eh?! Never met such a bunch of indirect hooligans as the many of the Stuttery McGees that were in this flick. "Um..Eh...I didn't mean...Uhh...Maybe...Sorry...I dunno whatever". How hard is to say "Dude. You're standing on my face!" or "No Mitchell, I don't really think you are my type." Frustrating to watch, is really all I can say.

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I hated this movie
buzzbruin9 June 2005
This movie should be shown to all film students as the perfect example of a bad movie. Although20 somethings might understand this movie it still seems bad to me, There is no explanation of any of the characters, background, family ambitions etc. The whole movie seems improv and BAD improv at that. The word amateur comes to mind with regard to the lackof a script, motivation of the characters. The whole movies is aimless, a mess photographically and absolutely excruciating to sit through.I have to care about people in an art form whether a movie, a play, or a book.I couldn't care less about these people. I have hired college students and 20 somethings for 25 years and never, ever met a single one as shallow, hopless and miserable as these people.
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Can't remember ever seeing a worse film
thecharliefarm6 August 2006
This was a god awful film. I'm struggling to come up with the words to explain how much I hated this film, I'm struggling as much as the characters did to come up with anything remotely interesting to say. You might think "life is like that, life is all about awkward pauses and situations and apologies", and you're right... but we don't put them on film for chrissake! it was as though the most interesting and thoughtful parts of their conversations were removed and we only got to see what remained. The acting is appalling, the direction is disgraceful, there was no evidence of a script and it appeared that each scene was only shot once, no second takes. I saw it the Melbourne International Film Festival and for the record, no less than 30-40 people walked out 2/3 of the way through.

I honestly felt like I'd been taken for a ride, this movie is so bad it feels like one big practical joke on the viewer.
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Fair so so
Billybob-Shatner30 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After months of hearing how terrible this movie was, I was pleasantly surprised I didn't hate it. At all. Can't say I liked it, but I can see the director having a future in the industry if he plays his cards right.

The library that I work at purchased a copy of the movie based on a couple of positive reviews it received. Well, the movie might have played well for some very open minded critics, but the mainstream Americans I talked to purely hated it. And I can see why. It's amateurishly photographed (everything's easy to see and in focus so I'm not going to knock it much in that department), it's not laugh out loud funny, the plot is nominal, the dialog borders on being inarticulate, the characters aren't particularly likable, and it lacks conclusion.

But, having seen it, what it does have going for it, is that a fair deal of it does feel very real and down to earth. I was happy to see that most of the characters weren't the typical simplistic sex obsessed of comedies geared to this age range... It had a certain charm for all its subtly and I thought many of the performances worked well enough. That being said, this really isn't for everybody.

I'd dare say it's for a very small crowd. If you're a fan of Jarmush, then I'd take a chance on this. If not, know what you're getting into.
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Worst Movie Ever.
d-stauff29 May 2008
I accidentally bought this movie and have no regrets for spending the money - I can now say, "I own the worst movie of all time" and I often do without ever tiring of it. My active distaste for this movie is the most inspiring thing about it. Consider a film that has do discernible direction, below middle-school par acting ability, video and sound recorded with a late 80s direct to cassette video camera, and no original artistry as many reviewers have tried to argue. Lighting and direction couldn't have been considered by someone with an IQ over 65 - if it was, it shouldn't be claimed. I don't have enough bad things to say about it... abrupt beginning and ending, pulpy yet somehow has no substance. It's not even redeemable to people that eat up that crude BS, for it lacks cursing nudity and drugs altogether. If you're thinking, "I've seen some pretty bad movies. I dunno... I doubt that there's a worse one out there." please please please see this movie. It's worse. Much worse.
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Somewhat funny but not as much Ha Ha.
vladgri19 June 2003
Very slooooow... You'll probably have a couple of smiles but you won't be able to stop checking your watch and wondering when it is going to end. Don't waste your time unless you're really deep into independent movies.
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Don't Bother. Save your money for the next Kevin Smith.
peteyrulz19 June 2006
This was the worst movie I've seen in a long time. Fair enough it was filmed on a tiny budget which explains the lack of polish and style. But a little substance, a good story would have made up for the rough edges. Unfortunately this 90 minute movie dragged on for 60 minutes too long. It's a story about Marnie and her friends. How relationships change after people leave college. But these people don't have any chemistry. They look like they're straining to remember their lines rather than a group of friends who are comfortable with each other. I guess thats the point. All the characters are awkward and unsure of themselves. Maybe the writer/director/actor Andrew Bujalski was trying to make a story that would resonate with other 20-somethings just out of college, trying to figure themselves out. I'm sorry but he failed miserably. I didn't feel any empathy for these characters. If I met these losers I'd run in the opposite direction.
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much ado about nothing
nv-1110 September 2006
I Love Indy films and foreign films. I do appreciate their quirkiness and non-mainstream story/filming. This is not one I would run out and purchase for my video library and invite everyone over to watch it over and over. It drags on and on where no one can articulate anything, not even a clear thought. Maybe that is funny? or haha on me. It has the premise of figuring out life day in and day out post college pre-marriage. Hum-drum. Others have done this and perfected this like Larry David but he is funny and Woody Allen as he is not only funny but clever. Both of these self-visualization directors have a resolve at the end. This movie misses the mark on all. It was like watching a home movie- so many parts of the scenes were hard to visualize or focus on (too much close-up not that the movie was "out of focus"). Now that was interesting as the filming technique parallels each characters' life. Though that may not be the depth this director was going for. If the US Open Tennis finals are on the TV and this is too, watch the tennis. It has humor, drama, real life and a resolve.
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winning independent feature
Roland E. Zwick16 December 2006
First time filmmaker Andrew Bujalski's extremely low-budget feature "Funny Ha Ha" has many of the hallmarks of an early John Cassavetes film: grainy camera-work, minimalist storytelling, and naturalistic, ad lib performances.

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. The characters interact in ways that are genuine and believable, and life just seems to be unfolding as we watch it on screen. This is due in small measure to the fine performances from a cast of virtual unknowns who know how to appear relaxed, honest and natural in front of the camera.

With its improvisational and off-the-cuff film-making style and its abrupt, the-camera-just-ran-out-of-film ending, "Funny Ha Ha" makes us feel as if we are eavesdropping on the daily lives of a handful of relative strangers. Lucky for us, they turn out to be people in whom we can see something of ourselves reflected, and with whom we enjoy spending our time.
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This is not film-making
dan-howes13 December 2007
Every filmmaker has a responsibility to at least make an attempt to create something that is visually compelling. That is the reason film, as a medium, exists. Funny Ha Ha is not a film. It is filmed, but it is not a film by the definition given above. No matter how well written the dialogue is or how subtly performed the acting is, it is a worthless endeavor if the VISUAL aspect is ignored. If all you care about is acting and dialogue, then put on a play. Films are visual. The writing and acting are a part of it, but it is nothing without the visuals.

To see what I mean about film being a visual medium, go watch KOYANISQATSI and POWAQQATSI. They have no actors or talking, but they are two of the finest films ever made.

Funny Ha Ha is a waste, and if it is indeed the "citizen kane" of mumblecore, I will be staying away from the entire genre.
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um.... this isn't a film.... it isn't anything
bertseymour727 July 2007
The digital age has produced a decent amount of crap, but none so crappy as the film(?) Funny Ha Ha.

First let me explain something, editing together crappy footage until you reach a point near 90 minutes does not equal a film. Basically thats what happened on this film.

The plot follows Marnie, since the actress who plays Marnie can't act we are immediately bored. But since Marnie is around other people who can't act the director is hoping that we won't notice, that perhaps by proximity it will appear that everyone can act. It doesn't work, because I have seen other films, therefore I understand acting.

I have seen my fair share of low budget crap, I used to review short films. So I have developed a taste for what works and what doesn't in the arena of up and comers. I can confidently say this film is a total waste of time, I checked it out from my LIBRARY FOR FREE, and still felt ripped off. I didn't even spend money to see this and I felt ripped off, that should tell you something.
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I own this movie and don't think I'll ever watch it again
sirel-127 November 2006
I actually won this movie in a Landmark Theatre contest while living in New Orleans. I picked it up that Saturday before hurricane Katrina hit, with the thinking that I could have something cool to watch once I arrived at my evacuation destination. I have to agree with everything that( commented on. If I would have known, I would have spent more time gathering more of my valuables. I could have filmed my backyard where the only activity would have been birds and squirrels running around and THAT would have been a bit more interesting than this movie. Sorry, that's 85 minutes of my life I can never retrieve. If anything, they've found a method that defies spoiling. There is absolutely no way to spoil this movie, so kudos on that one. It's just a snippet of life.
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Please don't give camera's to people who are clueless.
tomkat-192 September 2006
What happens when some bored teenagers in Boston get their hands on a camera? It depends on several things of course. To paraphrase my grandmother "It's all good fun until someone decides to actually make a movie". And while this sorry waste of energy won't 'put an eye out', you might actually wish for a stick in the eye, the thought being that the pain would distract you from having to endure another moment of this mess.

Firstly, nobody in the film can act...and I mean that kindly. Ms. Dollenmayer also has the misfortune to be rather plain (also being kind here). I could see the film 11 times and not pick her out of a line up.

But mainly, why make this film? It seems to be about a girl who is in a summer doldrum, trying to find a job and a boyfriend. I have a suggestion for this character: "Put on some makeup, brush your hair, make a quick trip to the GAP and grow a personality". We have all been in similar situations, some of us did something about it and some just wallowed in self pity, waiting for the miracle that never came. My point is that, while this seemingly angst ridden premise may seem quite profound and meaningful for the kids who spent 3 weeks doing what they normally do and filming it, as a story, it lacks direction, tension and above all, it's boring to other people. There is no story arc, and more importantly, I could not work up a bit of interest in these characters, what they were doing or where they may end up.

It would be difficult to write a spoiler for this film, as there is none. To me, the entire project was spoiled when this over eager, under talented lot, somehow got the $67.25 to actually make it. I sincerely wish them well and hope that their real lives take a turn for the serious.
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I Didn't Get It
nyclajd17 December 2005
I really didn't get this movie at all. Even for an independent film it was not well-shot or even well-lit, and the actors seemed to be unsure of what to do in some places, because of the writing or the space they were in or both. I also was confused by the title and maybe that was part of my problem in that I was expecting it to be at least partially funny somewhere in the film. The lead actress was fairly good, but the other actors either made little impression or seemed miscast, a lot of the blame I think has to go to the script and to the director. Some other people seem to have liked this so maybe I just didn't get it, but I don't think so.
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A waste of celluloid and time
rtk-230 December 2006
If this film really won an Independent Film award it doesn't say much for our directing talent out there. There is not point to the movie and hence no point watching it. I guess one can read some significance into the meaninglessness of post-college life in the US but this would be doing the director an undeserved favour.

Even if one were to accept that he was shooting a low budget movie with no plot and no script what I cannot understand is why the directing was so poor, why create an impression that we were watching a home movie with shaky hands and bad background lighting? Surely, even secondary school students' work is better than this.

It appears that this was simply a private joke and someone released it publicly by mistake. However, it still doesn't explain the award.
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Maybe I'M too simple
jeeezmaaan15 April 2004
I got dragged to see this movie by a friend who knows the director and several of the people in the movie. I guess I didn't have high expectations for it, but it came through nicely. I still don't understand what the title has to do with the movie, I didn't find it really funny, just sweet. I agree that it's a movie not about plot or even characters, but about moments. I kept thinking, "how many times have I been in one of these situations, talking about a relationship or my feelings with someone... how many times have i been on either side of this conversation. I've been this person, and I've been that person too." it was interesting. I really liked it. like I said, it wasn't that funny but it didn't try to be. It was nice to just watch it and soak up the simplicity and not watch some movie that tried to do all of your thinking for you.
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