City Journal: The Feeling's Mutual

Rising-star director Andrew Bujalski serves up a portrait of angsty young dreamers.

Local director Andrew Bujalski—praised a few years back for his debut, Funny Ha Ha—answered the critics’ calls for more with 2005’s Mutual Appreciation, a witty, sometimes strange, ultimately endearing portrait of a handful of twentysomethings. It rightly earned high marks while in theaters but suffered, as indies do, from limited exposure.

Now on DVD, Bujalski’s story, shot in black and white, should further brighten the shine affixed to his up-and-comer status. Here are characters rendered wonderfully authentic. They pace and fidget, they worry to themselves and to each other, but always remain fun to watch. Also fun: Bujalski ditched the director’s-commentary shtick in favor of comments from the parents of the movie’s actors. A little unusual? Sure, but creatively charming in the Bujalski spirit. —Geoffrey Gagnon