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Not a Funny Thing

Critic:

Amber Jackson

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Posted on:

31 Jul 2022

Film Reviews
Not a Funny Thing
Directed by:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato
Written by:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato
Starring:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato
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Written, directed by and starring Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato, Not a Funny Thing is a film about a man – or ‘the Intellectual’ – a bored academic who seeks to make grading his student’s papers entertaining, even though it numbs his brain. In seeking to make himself laugh, his ultimate lack of joy in his job infuriates him and consequently does the same to the viewer. We are forced to confront one man’s pitiful attempt to make the day less mundane and it is not an enjoyable experience.

 

What is most confusing about this film is the extreme length of the piece itself, as surely it would work best as a short and snappy film about the irksome dangers of procrastination. However, just five minutes into this restless film and you find yourself wondering how on earth they going to make this stretch to be over seventy minutes long. Each scene situates the Intellectual attempting to grade papers in between procrastinating and trying to make himself laugh by filming his so-called hilarious antics that categorise themselves as slow slapstick as the academic mimes out indecipherable actions. As they lack any sort of meaning or cohesion, they ultimately fall flat despite the delivery being performative.

 

As the Intellectual gets even more delusional and insane by a lack of stimulation, so do we. The accompanying soundtrack is repetitive and, much like the Intellectual, we too are driven crazy by the monotony. Perhaps this was Santamato’s intention in forcing us to confront the procrastination in our own lives and in the workplace, but even this is a stretch when trying to search for any meaning in the comedy that we are meant to be watching here. Its only consolation is the setting of a supposed back office stuffed full of old books and stacks and stacks of paper to give the sense of this academic literally drowning under the weight of his workload. Being trapped in the corner of an overflowing office certainly would turn anyone mad.

 

Santamato’s performance is certainly interesting to watch, despite the monotony of the film content. His exaggerated physical actions are intended to provoke comedy as he juggles many tasks and cannot seem to sit down at his desk and look through one student’s paper. The arrogance that comes with his boredom is certainly an interesting perspective to consider as he continues to fall asleep, or mess around and not perform his job adequately. Suddenly, forty-five minutes in, the Intellectual speaks as if out of nowhere and suddenly sparks the viewer’s attention. Is the film perhaps going to change direction? However, we are disappointed as yet another action is under-developed and un-explained. Although a good actor, Santamato is unable to develop an engaging plot as we are unable to understand what exactly is going on.

 

Not a Funny Thing is right about one thing: it is not even remotely funny. It is a tedious film that is dragged out to an unnecessary feature-length and lacks any sort of sense or continuity.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
Indie Feature Film, Web Series