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MOVIES: Funny Pages - Review

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An anti coming-of-age movie where everyone involved refuses to grow up and learns absolutely no lesson at all, Funny Pages is the kind of sleazy movie that we just don't get anymore where everyone in this looks like they might actually be a real person and the film very much revels in exposing their oddities and quirks. It's not an insufferable indie movie at the same time though - there's enough warmth in its hostility to pull you in in a way, that - no mistake given the Safdies are the producers, reminds you of something akin to Good Time - or further back, most of those '70s New York movies - After Hours, or Mikey & Nicky, or even something directed by the Coen Brothers as it has that wit and humour to its sensibilities that makes it feel right at home, it wears its influences very much on its sleeve.

Owen Kline directs this story of a teenage cartoonist who decides not to go to college and moves in a seedy room trying to make a living for himself away from the typical expectations of his middle class family. Daniel Zolghadri 's Robert draws inspiration from the pulpier sort, absurdist comedy - and runs into Matthew Maher's Wallace as a client of his boss - who did some work for Image Comics, the third biggest comics publishing house behind DC and Marvel - the company behind The Walking Dead. To Robert, meeting Wallace is like a sports fan meeting Michael Jordan or Lionel Messi, and he begs for a lesson. But Wallace is a personality of his own and a force to be reckoned with, and the stubborn, abrasive Robert is very much in over his head with both his new flat and his family.

You believe that Robert will at some point learn a lesson here but he keeps making the same mistakes of his own over the course of the film - and in that sense - Funny Pages is very much a different beast from your standard Netflix or A24 coming of age movies, most of them typically have one big moment where you realise that you've become an adult, typically over a single summer - Funny Pages is content to remind you that sometimes 18 year old can still, well, be 18 year olds - and actually look 18 in movies - and the dickhead klaxon is off the charts here - Robert is very much a dickhead to everyone he meets including his best friend Miles - and the film plays with that personality superbly, mining humour and creativeness out of in a way that constantly makes you laugh.

Joining the comics adjacent ranks of films like Ghost World, Funny Pages is an offbeat, sleazy and eccentric delight of the kind that isn't just made anymore. The comic timing, the line delivery - we've got a whole host of character actors here - Zolghadri and Maher are seamless, and the fact that this isn't ashamed to shine through the disgust and grit (the whole apartment sequence is deeply uncomfortable in the best possible way), is for the better. A real delight and such a welcome surprise - not the movie you think it's going to be and all the better for it.

Funny Pages is currently playing in UK Cinemas

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