Tiny Furniture (2010)

Tiny Furniture (2010) – Humor is a weird and pretty personal thing. Some things you find funny. Some things you don’t. We like to make these guiding principles of “oh this type of thing is what I find funny and that type of thing I don’t” but really it’s whatever random shit hits our fancy the right way at the right time. If I don’t think something’s funny… well, that’s annoying sure but whatever. They tried to make people laugh and in my case they failed. Big deal. What really bugs me is when I don’t get it. Not like I’m just not catching a reference but when I do not understand at all why something is supposed to be funny. Tiny Furniture is the directorial debut of Lena Dunham, who also wrote and stars in the film. She’s being praised as a bold new voice in comedy. She’s sold a TV show to HBO that’s being produced by Judd Apatow. This movie is one of the most recently-made films in the Criterion Collection. And I don’t get it.

Dunham plays Aura, a 22-year-old who has just graduated from college and is now moving back home with her mother Siri (Dunham’s actual mother Laurie Simmons) and teenage sister Nadine (Dunham’s actual sister Grace Dunham). She’s aimless and drifting through life and yada yada yada the usual “aimless young adult” stuff. She’s reconnecting with her old faux-British friend Charlotte (Jemima Kirke) and ignoring her college friend (Merritt Wever) that she was supposed to be getting an apartment with. There’s potential love interests in a YouTube celebrity named Jed (Alex Karpovsky) and a sous chef named Keith (David Call), but those relationships meander like the movie at large.

It’s not that I found nothing funny at all in Tiny Furniture. There’s some funny stuff in a way where you think “oh, that’s funny” instead of actually laughing. I think the movie may have elicited a chuckle from me once or twice. What bugs me, as indicated earlier, is I’m not sure why most of this movie is even supposed to be funny. It’s awkward, but awkwardness alone is not comedy. At least not my understanding of comedy. What manner of humor is supposed to be at play here? If you take the whole “this is supposed to be a comedy” element of confusion out of it, you’re left with a coming of age story that likewise doesn’t do much for me. Lena Dunham is being called one of the fresh new voices of comedy. I’m thinking we should hold on to some of those older voices a while longer.

2 Responses to “Tiny Furniture (2010)”
  1. jaykbroox says:

    Criterion tries to explain to me why Lena Dunham is supposed to be funny. They make a decent case for bold and daring, but I remain unconvinced on the funny… http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2149-tiny-furniture-out-there

  2. jaykbroox says:

    Okay so after finding the pilot of “Girls” to be somewhat “meh,” the show has gotten better and better with each passing episode. I think if I went back and watched Tiny Furniture again I still wouldn’t like it, but I now know that it was a mistake writing Dunham off altogether.

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