Mutual Appreciation | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mutual Appreciation

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YouTube has realized the indie-film ethic of ordinary people generating their own cinema, but the result seems to be a library of solipsism, self-regard, and second-rate showbiz. That makes a genuine indie talent like Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha) even more notable; his low-budget tales of confused college grads have all the immediacy of a bedroom webcast, but they're also drily funny and shrewdly observant of personal and social behavior. Shot in black-and-white 16-millimeter, this second feature centers on a shaggy musician (Justin Rice) who arrives in New York, meets up with an old friend (Bujalski), and begins drifting into a love triangle with the friend's sweetheart (Rachel Clift). With characteristic shyness, Bujalski backs away from any dramatic fireworks, but he's become increasingly adept at rendering ambivalent and uncomfortable situations--most memorably a party where the hero arrives late and falls into the clutches of three young women determined to get him into drag. 110 min. a Music Box. --J.R. Jones

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