Movie review: ‘Funny Pages’ is a strange duck


Good now. You don’t say it too often, but I can honestly say you’ve never seen anything like it funny pages. The film, which is a hybrid between a character study and a squeaky low-budget comedy, is completely one of a kind. Part of that is because the filmmaker’s young voice is so distinct. On the other hand, part of it is due to how cinematic part of the film is. This mix makes it a pretty tough sell for most, but for those who really care, the movie is really going to resonate in a big way.

funny pages is a strange duck, but it is so unusual that it prevents you from looking at the screen. Sometimes it’s because you’re curious or you have to. Other times it’s because you’re almost pushed away. However, you will never be bored. Everything from the unusual look of each character to the very weird details presented makes it something you’ve definitely never seen before. Even though I was both intrigued and discouraged by this, I can’t help but respect him.


We meet the teenage artist Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) during a meeting with his drawing teacher, Mr. Katano (Stephen Adly Guirgis). Robert approaches pornographic cartoons, but he has a major gift, one that the teacher encourages, encouraging him to cultivate it, even at the expense of college. He’s also more than willing for Robert to draw him naked, so it’s not exactly a normal teacher/student relationship. But, this meeting sets up how Robert and his friend Miles (Miles Emmanuel) end up in a mistaken break and enter case, helping to keep Robert away from his parents, Jennifer (Marie Dizzia) and Lewis (Josh Pais), leaving school in the process.

Moving into the worst apartment on the planet, located in a basement in Trenton and lived in by Barry (Michael Townsend Wright), Robert soon meets the troubled Wallace (Matthew Maher), who was once a cartoonist. He is currently in trouble with the law, but Robert sees him as a mentor, perhaps against Wallace. Thus, a friendship potentially blossoms, with Wallace fighting it to the bitter end.


The actors are all fully engaged in this sometimes bizarre film. Daniel Zolghadri gets a showcase like never before, with the same for Matthew Maher. Both make the most of it, trying out unlovable characters that don’t quite grow on you, but whose wavelengths you end up reaching. The weirder the character, the more attention the movie gives them, leaving someone like Josh Pais with less to do. At the same time, it’s clearly intentional, even if not always satisfying. Supporting players include Marcia DeBonis and Ron Rifkinamong others.

Director Owen Klin go as lo-fi as possible here. This feature debut is certainly a calling card, not only for its writing and directing skills, but also for its unique worldview. Everything about it seems unique and straight from Kline’s mind. It all doesn’t work, but the fact that he was able to release it to the world deserves credit. The design of this apartment alone, which might give you nightmares, is one for the ages.

funny pages won’t be for everyone. In fact, I’m safe to say it’s not for most people. At the same time, it is this specificity that gives the film its personality. Either you’re going to dig what Kline is up to, or you have absolutely no use for it. This kind of singular approach is becoming less and less common, so even though it’s a mild recommendation, it’s a recommendation nonetheless.

SCORE: ★★★

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