Funny Ha Ha 15 (2002)
Dir: Andrew Bujalski; Starring: Kate Dollenmayer, Christian Rudder, Jennifer L. Schap, Myles Paige, Andrew Bujalski
I like films where nothing really happens. On a day-to-day basis, what does really happen, anyway? I don’t see men in lycra scaling the walls of my house (unless Steven the Window Cleaner is trying something new); I never win life-changing amounts of money on TV show then get brutalised by the local police; nor do my neighbours go all technicolour and break into a perfectly choreographed dance number (though I do sometimes listen to next door really let their hair down on Guitar Hero). No, nothing really happens and so I’m more than happy to see normal, unstylised, unscripted life shown on film, though I’d take my life over Marnie’s any day of the week.
Funny Ha Ha follows said Marnie (Dollenmayer) for a summer as she hangs around doing not really very much at all; drifting, you might say, from one shitty temp job to another, hanging round with old friends from college who invite her to tedious dinners, all the while pining for her friend Alex (Rudder) and being hopelessly flirted with by the hapless Mitchell (played by Bujalski).
Shot in 16mm, the film has a grainy quality (though you don’t get this as much watching on a lap-top), making it all more ‘real’. Ah, real life: a stuttering, awkward, unsatisfying search for some kind of point (erm, Marnie, not me). Funny Ha Ha isn’t exactly funny, unless it’s self-conscious laughter at the painful reality of it all. It’s a load of uncomfortable post-uni kids saying not really anything at all and saying it badly.
A lot of people probably hate this film and I can see why. I thought it was, like, pretty funny, pretty sad and quite endearing, painting a painfully accurate picture of that old ennui.