Mutual Appreciation (2005, Andrew Bujalski)

Oops, I thought this Bujalski dude was our indie cinema saviour or the new Wes Anderson or something. Nothing more than a grainy portrait of a few young white people in new york, one of ’em trying to be an indie rocker, and mutually attracted to his best bud’s girl [best bud is played by the director]. Manages not to be annoyingly quirky, situations seem pretty real and characters have a non-fakey awkwardness about them, but also not much to recommend the movie and doesn’t feel very memorable.

AV Club said it first: “All this intrigue sets up a romantic encounter between Rice and Clift, and a serious rupture in their relationship with Bujalski, but nothing in Mutual Appreciation goes according to the usual script. The scene in which Rice and Clift finally vocalize their feelings for each other is the perfect example of what Bujalski does so well: Any other romantic melodrama would have them bubbling over with passion, but these characters are painfully tentative and believably so, given that they’re both betraying someone they care about. What ends up happening between them is completely unexpected, yet entirely true to who they are and to how most caring people would act. But such things rarely happen onscreen, and Bujalski’s willingness to follow through makes him a singular talent.”

I guess after reading the AV Club bit and some Indiewire articles I can appreciate the thing more. Still don’t know whether it’s an authentic new york indie rock scene document, or a comedy/mockery of that scene. Given the levels of irony involved in the “scene”, is there a difference?