by Afra Nariman
Funny Pages (2022)
Director: Owen Kline
Stars: Daniel Zolghadrim Mathew Maher, Miles Emanuel
Funny Pages falls under one of my favorite kinds of cinema — character-driven film. Unfortunately, here only lies the bones of a good one. Though undeniably character-driven, it lacks particularly interesting enough characters to carry the film; and although it sets out to create an offbeat atmosphere around the film — and it’s there — the film doesn’t accomplish this in a meaningful or comedic enough way like some of the best offbeat coming-of-age films have; most comparatively, Ghost World (2001). The characters offered to us in Funny Pages — though they are interesting enough to peak our curiosity — aren’t developed to be compelling enough to consistently connect with in a lasting capacity.
Whether this was intentional or not, Funny Pages feels timeless in the sense that it does not resemble our specific time and place (in terms of its reality, not geography). This has both positive and negative implications. It’s ambiguous displacement of time helps capture an offbeat energy; but at the same time, there is a feeling of being too separated from a believable reality (and it wouldn’t have to necessarily resemble ours), which leads to an even greater distancing between the film’s characters and its viewers.
Ultimately, Funny Pages’ comedy feels forced at times, and (at least for me) nonexistent at others. For a film resembling and featuring all the common tropes of an offbeat coming-of-age film purposed towards its protagonist’s attempt at a rushed independence — in the vein of classics like Ghost World — this film misses too many of the necessary beats to resonate in the same ways.
MY RATING /5:
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