Haiku Tunnel review by Jackass Tom

Could have been better
I thought it would make me laugh
Too bad it failed
(for the most part)

The office comedy is field ripe for the film picking. Sure Office Space has picked it over, but there are still a lot of people out there who hate their white collar jobs and wouldn’t mind seeing it poked fun at for 90 minutes. Haiku Tunnel (whose name doesn’t help its market) takes a stab at the life (or lack thereof) of an office temp. Plenty of close targets could be hit in this comedy, but in the end the poor execution really limits what could have been a pretty funny movie.

Josh (Josh Kornbluth) is an over-weight bald guy from the George Costanza mold. Kornbluth exists purely for himself and even at that leads a pretty drab life of survival by way of temping. He has no real job; he has no real corporate attachments and no prospects of moving on to something greater in life, unless his writing career divinely takes off. Josh’s yarn begins when he accepts a temp job at the law firm of S&M (uniquely named). He tells us from the get-go that his lawyer boss is Satan—but you never actually see why.

As a temp Josh is an outsider, which he seems to be somewhat ok with, and in the first few days he works his but off to impress. But as soon as he accepts to “go perm” and sell his soul, his enthusiasm rots into apathy. Central to the story is a grouping of 17 letters that his boss says “are urgent” and must be “mailed immediately.” Days go by, each excuse for not mailing them is replaced by another, more extravagant excuse, and soon he finds himself in a lose/lose situation, created by his own laziness.

The excuses for not mailing the letters are a bit laughable. The letters represent a simple duty that, when left undone, gives him some sort of hope or safety valve. Not mailing the letter becomes a sort of security blanket. One day, he even goes to a one-day orientation, which is essentially a tutorial on how to un-jam a copier. It even gets to the point where his fellow perms (the San Fran gay, the perky-but-angry divorcee, and the sharp tongued, attractive African American woman) attempt to help him out at the zero hour.

The movie is based on some of Kornbluth’s own comedic monologues (of which I have never seen). You can see it translated into film through his direct communication with the camera, and constant narration. Kornbluth looks comfortable in front of the camera, but his timing and jokes don’t seem to have the power that they should have. This could be in part due to his first time making a film (writing/directing) and most likely a limited budget. Unfortunately the result is not as many real hearty laughs and some jokes never take off. For example, Josh complains about how his boss is evil, but we never really see why. He actually seems like a great boss. He never really rides Josh hard, or yells at him, or makes him jump through jungle gyms of paper work. Seems like a loose-end in the story.

The limited group of temp workers out there might enjoy this office comedy. Maybe even a few more 9-to-5 warriors might find their chuckles in Kornbluth’s self-destructive lack of work ethic. I wanted to find more laughs along the way and when I rented this movie, I really hoped for it to be a little bit more polished. Good for a few laughs, but over time not noteworthy

2 out of 10 Jackasses
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