A biting and funny coming-of-age story about a teenage cartoonist who vehemently rejects the comforts of his suburban life, Owen Kline’s “Funny Pages” is one of the best films of the summer.
Kline’s satirical jabs hit where they hurt. His movie plays like a millennial “American Splendor,” only better. Filmed in 2019, “Funny Pages” sat in post-production hell for nearly three years until none other than the Safdies rescued it, and then A24 jumped on board. It was finally presented at Cannes last May.
Questioning his own privileged upbringing, Kline’s film is about a teenager (Daniel Zolghadri) who gives up the luxuries of his upper-class life to try to live the grimy city life as a cartoonist. There he meets a vulgar comic artist (Matthew Maher) who leads to things getting tense and ugly, in seriously comedic fashion, of course.
The cast in this one is amazing. The cast actors not only inhabit their bizarre personas, but make you believe they’re real flesh and blood. It’s a lo-fi masterpiece, filled with brilliantly deranged set pieces, tackling ill-conceived artistic impulses in weird and dirty ways.
No wonder the Safdies produced this one. You can easily see them making such a film in their early years; it’s pure “gutter poetry”. [A-]