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   Final Film Critique: 
   Funny Ha Ha

Andrew Bujalski
   Expected Rating: R due to language
   Distribution: Wellspring/Genius Enter.
   Budget: $30,000
   Genre: Slice-of-life

   Running Time: 85 minutes

   Release Dates: April 29, 2005
   Review Date: April 15, 2006
   Reviewed By: Jeremy Hanke

Final Score:
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Andrew Bujalski has created one of the most genuinely realistic films I have ever seen. Funny Ha Ha manages to seem more like a documentary, than a narrative feature, following a single main protagonist as her life weaves into and out of other people's lives. It's amazing that he is able capture so much true life realism in this film.

The story of Funny Ha Ha follows a girl named Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer), a rather quiet and stoic girl who has just lost her job. Despite the fact that she has just lost her job, she's not terribly concerned because she's not the sort of girl who's terribly concerned about many of life's setbacks. To establish this point early the film, the director has a besotted Marnie show up at the dorm room of some tattoo artist in order to get a tattoo in the opening scene. However, she's so drunk that she can't decide what she wants (except maybe a cow, because it reminds her of her father) and the tattoo artist refuses to tattoo someone who is drunk. Since tattooing is clearly not in her immediate future, she simply shrugs her shoulders and stumbles out the door, getting on with her life without complaint.

Marnie's laid back acceptance of change throughout the movie is coupled, at the same time, with her overall general discontent with her life, which is a slightly unsettling combination. She's in love with a guy named Alex (Christian Rudder) and makes the mistake of confessing this fact to his sister, who immediately gets involved to try and set the two up. Unfortunately, both Marnie and Alex are so socially inept around one another that it takes them quite awhile to even arrange going out. When they finally do, they manage to hit it off well enough for Marnie to think they might actually be more than friends. That thought ends up being crushed when she drops by his work to find that he's gone on vacation without telling her and, according to his co-workers, ended up getting married to his ex-girlfriend, Nina.

Marnie's the sort of person that
takes life as it comes...
...and often finds herself pulled along
in the wake of her friends' paths.

This hearsay wedding makes the viewer automatically suspicious that perhaps the Hollywood-created cliché machine is rearing it's ugly head; however, Mr. Bujalski sticks to his guns and makes the rumor authentic to keep the tension up. Marnie, who almost never gets angry, no matter what occurs to her, takes it in stride and starts seeing a guy named Mitchell (played by writer/editor/director Andrew Bujalski), who she met while working at the temp job she lands after losing her initial job.

She and Mitchell explore a stuttering relationship, that seems to progress in spits-and-starts, despite Marnie's statement that they're 'just friends'. Meanwhile, Alex, who still seems to like Marnie even though he is married to Nina, starts hanging around and showing up--first at her apartment, then at her job--to talk.

This leads up to the ending…sort of. (An ending implies a certain finality, which is lacking in this film. However, the specifics of that will be covered later.)

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