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‘Funny Pages’ Is a Darkly Hilarious Comic Book Comedy from the Safdie Brothers’ Promising Protégé

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The most that anybody knows about Owen Kline, whose debut movie as a director premiered in Cannes yesterday, is that he is the son of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, and that he starred in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale as a child—so it is fitting that Funny Pages features a character trying to break away from his parents’ influence, and contains a grimly hilarious masturbation scene. Kline’s film, an A24 joint produced by the Safdies, is assured and funny, an almost bewilderingly throwback indie film whose wit and lack of starriness are beguiling.

Funny Pages—an appropriately flat title for this downbeat comedy of manners—is the story of a young man, Robert), who works in a comic book store and dreams of a career working as a cartoonist. Against the wish of his well-to-do parents that he go to college, Robert starts working as a clerk in a crummy legal office, rents a squalid shared apartment with two sweaty old bozos in a down-at-heel neighborhood, and focuses on his drawing. Over the course of his typist work, the teenager comes into contact with Wallace—essentially Comic Book Guy from The........

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