Filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s Mutual Appreciation (just out on DVD), which played only briefly in theaters last summer, is a subtle joy: an honest, gritty, very funny film about overeducated, underemployed twentysomethings and their romantic entanglements.
As with Bujalski’s cult-classic debut feature, Funny Ha Ha, the plot — indie rock musician Alan (Justin Rice) flirts and misfires with assorted women, including the girlfriend of his friend Lawrence (Bujalski himself) — is practically beside the point. What resonates here is the pitch-perfect dialogue, which captures the awkward swagger of a certain post-collegiate set.
If you can remember (from 20 years ago, or 20 minutes ago) what it’s like to feel entirely certain about a girl or a boy one moment and entirely bewildered the next, then you’ll appreciate Appreciation. Extra credit goes to Bujalski for portraying Lawrence as a hilariously quasi-pathetic, quasi-endearing Woody Allen–caliber nebbish.
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