Funny Ha Ha | Chicago Reader

Funny Ha Ha

With its credits handwritten on paper and its abrupt ending, this low-budget romantic comedy (2002, 90 min.) by Boston writer-director Andrew Bujalski asks not to be taken too seriously. But like his heroes Mike Leigh and John Cassavetes, Bujalski has a knack for the genuine moment: using rudimentary lighting and a lively ensemble of nonprofessionals, he creates a convincing slacker landscape in which his 24-year-old heroine (Kate Dollenmayer) negotiates a series of awkward encounters with men she either can't have or doesn't want. An animator who worked on Richard Linklater's Waking Life, Dollenmayer gives a captivating performance as the unassuming young woman feeling her way through a maze of drunken conversations, sexual gamesmanship, and personal misunderstandings.

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