Finding the ‘Funny Ha Ha’ in Awkwardness
‘Funny Ha Ha’ is just the title for this film. In the opening scene, Marni, the drunken main character, tries to choose a tattoo, while the sober tattoo artist tries to change her mind. This scene sets the comic precedent for the rest of the movie and serves as foreshadowing for her future decision to stop drinking.
To say that this movie is awkward is a great understatement. To say that it is cringingly awkward is much more fitting. However, this reaction appears to be exactly what Writer/Director Andrew Bujalski intended. The film follows Marni, a recent college graduate who is trying to drink less and find a job while uncomfortably hanging out with various friends of friends and being openly in love with her friend, Alex. The story is not too exciting; it’s a relatively ordinary depiction of life.
However, there is more to this movie. ‘Funny Ha Ha’ brings funny, awkward moments to life and exaggerates them to an extreme. To convey the awkwardness of forced conversations, the movie is filled with stuttering dialogue as the characters try to figure out what to say next.
For example, Mitchell, Marni’s coworker, asks her out on her last day of work. He is a constantly stuttering, completely inarticulate character, a horrible match for Marni, but she keeps him around for what seems like convenience. However, her real interest, Alex, married the girlfriend that Marni thought he broke up with in a matter of a day. This revelation is accompanied by conversation almost too awkward to watch.
The movie seems to be a social commentary on ordinary life. In the movie, the characters are never satisfied with silence; they always struggle to find something to say. The exaggerated background noises seem to parallel the exaggeration of ordinary life when situations become uncomfortable and conversations turn to stutters. This is definitely one to watch, as it confronts the everyday awkward situations that we never talk about out loud.