Mutual Appreciation

"Extraordinary"

Mutual Appreciation Review


Pretty much everything you've heard about Andrew Bujalski is true. His films (only a duo so far) are artsy and often damn proud of the fact. There isn't a plot to really speak of, and most of the film is made up of long, neurotic jabbering that consists mainly of stutters and unamiable "uhs" and "ums." His style can best be described as the creepy-calm offspring of Eric Rohmer and John Cassavetes, two artists who are already shackled to the word pretentious. All these things are within the honest realm of opinion, but it's a good thing.

Allan (indie-girl wet-dream Justin Rice) has just landed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and things are good for the most part. He's the leader of an indie rock band called The Bumblebees, although he is the only member still performing. He has a coveted gig at the trendier-than-thou Northsix club that is being promoted by Sara (Seung-Min Lee), a cute radio DJ who has designs on Allan. Allan, however, spends most of his time with his best friends Ellie and Lawrence (Rachel Clift and Bujalski himself, respectively), a couple who have lived in Brooklyn for well over a year. Ellie and Allan tiptoe around their minefield of flirtations, but as Allan's interest in Sara diminishes, his longings become a bit more apparent.

Bujalski made one hell of a name for himself last year when he dropped Funny Ha Ha, a lethal anti-comedy (it's irony, get it?) that spent nearly the entire film making the audience squirm from awkward discomfort. Think Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming with fewer one-liners and more uncomfortable pauses.

The talent Bujalski has is in his deadpan honesty and often disturbingly blunt character study. There are scenes that go on for so long (the "party" scene after Allan's gig) that you want to reach through the screen and strangle the characters. We know these people who drag you into the kitchen and tell you that they can't date you and can't even make out with you at 2 in the AM, more than likely because we are these people. Where post-graduation malaise would be often represented by trying to figure out how to translate college life into real life, the life of Bujalski's characters seem to not even acknowledge their past, even when confronted with it.

In it's most complex scenes, often having to do with Ellie and Allan in the film's more anti-textual second half, the characters show a fumbling sort of charm, but not without still feeling a bit listless and grating. While lying on a bed, Ellie tells Allan, quite matter-of-factly, "Reality would be nice to talk about." That line, surely destined for away messages and MySpace profiles throughout the country, sums up the world that Bujalski has captured: life, on the tip of your tongue, but not quite landing on the taste buds. Even in tender scenes (the reaffirmation of Ellie and Lawrence's relationship), Bujalski's world seems terribly allergic to anything that might be misconstrued as cordial. For that, we can only sit and stew in self-reflection. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new awkward.

The feeling is mutual, we're sure.



Mutual Appreciation

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th May 2007

Budget: $500 thousand

Distributed by: Goodbye Cruel World

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrew Bujalski

Producer: Morgan Faust, Ethan Vogt, Dia Sokol

Starring: Justin Rice as Alan, Rachel Clift as Ellie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.