13 February 2013 | dougt
A romantic comedy worth seeking out
This bubble-light romantic comedy is worth seeking out. Tony Hale—in his first leading role I think—plays Stefan, a typical lovelorn Hollywood movie type who will do anything for the girl, eh-em, woman of his dreams to fall in love with him. Or at least notice him more. In this case, Stefan has overheard Hayley (Brigid Brannagh) stating she just wants a man that can make her laugh. Stefan knows he is not funny, so he seeks advice from friends, the Internet, and even stalks a comic. What makes Not That Funny work—and so enjoyable—is it smartly stays away from the traps of most romantic comedies. For example, Stefan learns a joke we know is not going to work. We don't get the obligatory scene where it falls flat and a lesson is learned. In fact, there's a lot obligatory trappings of the modern romantic comedy that are not seen or dwelled on in Not that Funny. Thanks goes to writer-director Lauralee Farrer and co-writer Jonathan Foster. The script—like the main character —is smart and likable, earnest and fair. It does a wonderful job in showcasing some character actors you've seen before and allows Hale— still best known as Buster on Arrested Development—a rare chance to showcase a grounded hero you'd invite over for dinner. Despite a paper- thin budget, Farrer and cinematographer Brandon Lippard deliver a beautiful looking valentine to the town of Sierra Madre (near Pasadena) and a remarkable house that is so functional it becomes another character.