As office comedies go, Haiku Tunnel doesn’t quite reach the rareified level of the Tracy-Hepburn Desk Set (1957) or Mike Judge’s Office Space (1999), but it has its share of the kind of rueful drolleries that the 9-to-5 hell seems to routinely inspire. Conceived and first performed as a comic monologue by Josh Kornbluth, it’s been opened up by Josh and his brother Jacob and stars Josh as a nebbish temp who accidentally finds himself faced with the daunting prospect of going perm.
Much of the success of the film depends on one’s reaction to Josh, who resembles the cartoon character The Critic — balding, self-obsessed and with a singularly strange physiognomy. Viewed alone in the frame, you’d swear he was about 5 feet tall but as soon as somebody else walks into the scene he towers over them by a few inches.
The plot, such as it is, centers around some unmailed letters (shades of Billy Liar), but the meat of the piece lies in Josh’s obsessively detailed observations about office life, which seem to boil down to how much you can get away with by doing how little. It’s a nice slice of alienation-lite, both smart and reassuringly inconsequential.
Showing exclusively at the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit), Friday through Sunday. Call 313-833-3237.
Visit the official Haiku Tunnel Web site at www.haikutunnel.com.
Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for Metro Times. E-mail him at [email protected].