Reviews | Written by Jonathan Anderson 05/10/2022

FUNNY PAGES

This wonderfully bizarre coming-of-age black comedy gives us some of the most unique oddball characters seen in cinema for some time. Written and directed by Owen Kline (son of Kevin and Phoebe Cates if that kind of thing interests you), Funny Pages follows teenage cartoonist Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) as he naively tries to make it as a comic book artist.

In doing so, Robert reluctantly navigates through - and wilfully rejects - a middle-class suburban existence, high school and friendship with the admiring Miles (Miles Emanuel). A tragic accident involving his teacher and mentor Mr. Katano (Stephen Adly Guirgis) kickstarts this sequence of events, leading him to work for legal aid Cheryl (Marcia DeBonis) and sharing an overheated basement with the eccentric Barry (Michael Townsend Wright) and Steven (Cleveland Thomas Jr). Through work he meets comic book colourist Wallace (superbly played by Matthew Maher), who despite obvious anger management and emotional problems is idolised by Robert. In a movie full of lovable weirdos, Wallace takes the crown. The intertwining relationships between these characters produce plenty of crude humour as we’re treated to a real-life version of the works of Robert Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Chester Brown, Joe Matt, or Harvey Pekar.

Despite only being produced by them, the chaotic nature of the film hints at the Safdie Brothers’ involvement, although this is a solid directorial debut from Kline. Yet another leftfield hit from A24 and quite possibly one of the movies of the year.