23rd Sep2022

‘Funny Pages’ Review

by Guest

Stars: Daniel Zolghadri, Miles Emanuel, Maria Dizzia, Michael Townsend Wright, Marcia DeBonis | Written and Directed by Owen Kline

Cartoons have the power to change the world and seriously make an impact on someone’s life, and nobody understands that better than the character of Robert. He is an aspiring professional cartoonist, having gotten into the art form ever since his youth. Turns out, he’s also super good at it and impresses everyone with his work. But he finds out fairly quickly that, in order to make it big, you have to do a lot of hard work and put a ton of effort in. This is essentially what Owen Kline‘s Funny Pages is about. We watch Robert get into increasingly awkward situations, funny ones, emotional, and heartbreaking ones all throughout this 86-minute journey.

Although Funny Pages isn’t a great movie, it’s still an enjoyable enough film that shows true promise for writer/director Owen Kline who clearly has a knack for being behind the camera. This film is strikingly similar in tone to Uncut Gems and Good Time which is quite interesting because the directors of those films – Josh and Benny Safdie – serve as producers here. But make no mistake – this isn’t anywhere near as good as a film from the Safdie brothers themselves. The biggest problem with Funny Pages is that it never really delves as deep as it should into Robert’s life. We understand a few of his struggles, but it’s always a little difficult to connect with him.

He feels distant – not only to his friends in the story, but also to us, the viewer. It’s almost as if he’s hiding something he doesn’t want us to know throughout the entire film, leading to him being a protagonist that, ultimately, by the time the end credits roll, we feel like we don’t really know all that well. There are some good moments with his character development occasionally, but it’s mostly flat. The film felt as if it lacked a true sense of tension, as well. One of the best moments in the film in the third act is definitely wild but it seemed as if the stakes should’ve been considerably higher.

It also features an extremely anti-climactic ending that will leave you feeling cold and empty and not in a good way. There is no payoff, and there is certainly no satisfaction in this bizarre wrap-up. It’s one of those endings that you can tell was done in order to generate theories, but instead, it’ll just generate arguments.

Daniel Zolghadri is absolutely marvelous in the role of Robert, however. It’s the one thing this movie has that is consistently great. He’s clearly someone that’s going places in the industry, so be sure to be on the lookout for his name because you’ll surely be seeing it pop up quite a bit more often.

Funny Pages shows promise for writer/director Owen Kline, even if the film doesn’t quite live up to its full potential.

***½  3.5/5

Funny Pages is currently screening exclusively at Curzon cinemas across the UK.


Comments are closed.