Monday, February 05, 2007

Mutual Appreciation on DVD

There was absolutely nothing I didn't like about this film: Mutual Appreciation, directed by Andrew Bujalski, now on DVD (but I bought the only copy Scratch got in, so don't go lookin' for it there just yet). It's edgy, funny, unafraid to induce a squirming tension in its audience, perceptive as all heck about the precarious position o' being young, horny, ambitious, angst-ridden and abundantly confused, AND it features some great songs performed by star Justin Rice (of Bishop Allen, not to be confused with Alan Bishop). Tho' I 'fess up to not having seen the director's previous Funny Ha Ha, based on this film, I'm actually not wild about the Cassavetes comparisons that get made about him. There is certainly a debt to Cassavetes, particularly in Bujalski's willingness to thrust his characters, and thus his audience, into embarrassing situations, but this is a much lighter, sweeter, and safer film than even Minnie and Moskowitz (Cassavetes' lightest, sweetest, and safest, but still recognizably Cassavetean, film); and what indy filmmaker currently at work in America doesn't owe something of a debt to Cassavetes? ...But that's not to say it's not a really fun film, though, and well worth your time - it's grittier, more honest, and more cringingly familar than a host of other good/great movies about the travails of the youthful (I liked it more, say, than Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, Steve Buscemi's Lonesome Jim, or Alexandre Rockwell's In the Soup, to choose films that it has very little in common with save that all are fun, perceptive, and have characters who are young-ish in them, struggling to find themselves)... Anyhow, rent it or buy it or see it, already! 'Nuff said.

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