Funny Ha Ha (2002)

Directed by Andrew Bujalski

Unsure of what to do next, 23-year-old Marnie tries her best to navigate life after college. Still partying like there's no tomorrow, Marnie drags herself out of bed for her miserable temp job and can't decide whether she's wasting her time going after best buddy Alex, who doesn't seem to be interested.

Oh my, I've been to places like this in Boston.


Bujalski’s improv approach is gracefully married with a style that is not overly-dramatic, and therefore seems just a hair short of pure documentary. Even unexpected encounters that other directors may have exploited for intense dramatic effect, such as a drunk Dave suddenly kissing Marnie in a car, play out and then fade away with the natural pulse of everyday life. Just as underplayed are myriad character details, such as Marnie’s evident interest in religion, that are gently observed but never underlined.

Robert Koehler (Variety)


What gives this film its quiet pathos is not so much the relative bleakness of Marnie's circumstances but the modesty of her expectations. At one point, she makes a to-do list, and its lack of ambition […] is both funny and sad. […] Funny Ha Ha, much as it is the story of a few difficult, uneventful months in her life, is also a deft group portrait of recent college graduates — her friends, co-workers and would-be lovers — groping their way across the flatlands of early adulthood. Their conversational tics sound at once stylized and improvised, and the movie's narrative rhythms are loose and ambling. It feels as artless and scattered as Marnie and her cohort, who wear old T-shirts with holes in them and decorate their apartments with nondescript furniture, some of it probably hauled in from the sidewalk. But this scruffiness is a bit deceptive, as Funny Ha Ha has both a subtle, delicate shape and a point. [And] I would bet that the ragged, swerving scenes in his film are much more tightly scripted and carefully rehearsed than they sometimes seem.