Mutual Appreciation

The first feature of young indie writer-director-editor Andrew Bujalski, Funny Ha Ha (2002), already has a cult following, and his second (2005) is equally bright and assured. Working here in 16-millimeter black and white blown up to 35-millimeter, he warmly observes another set of young adults tentatively moving toward—or passively avoiding—serious relationships with the opposite sex. The central figures are a charismatic but noncommittal single musician (Justin Rice) and his two best friends, a couple (Rachel Clift and Bujalski) who've just moved in together. One of Bujalski's gifts is his ability to give every part, no matter how big or small, a sense of intelligence and life that extends beyond the frame and running time, and in this his work recalls the best of both Mike Leigh and Richard Linklater. The supporting cast includes experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison and Funny Ha Ha's lead, Kate Dollenmayer, who appears at a memorable “wig party.” 110 min.

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