Josh Kornbluth (Josh Kornbluth), ambles from temp job to temp job as he contemplates writing the Great American novel. He is perfectly content to take these jobs, because, as he points out, he’s a really good temp. They also allow him the freedom to concentrate on other things. Yes, he has to live in a small dump of an apartment in the Mission District in “San Franclisco” (a ‘fictional’ town, the setting for his ‘fictional’ story, but he actually enjoys his life. Then he accepts a temp assignment working for Bob Shelby (Warren Keith) at the law firm of Schuyler & Mitchell. Josh notices strange things at S & M, but he goes about his assignment. Then Marlina D’Amore (Helen Shumaker), the head Secretary, asks Josh if he wants “to go perm?” Josh accepts and everything begins to unravel.
“Haiku Tunnel” is simply one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long, long time.
Josh Kornbluth reportedly developed a one-man show called “Haiku Tunnel” based on his adventures as a Legal Temp. He and his brother Jacob worked for a long time to turn the play into a film. The film, directed by the Kornbluth Brothers works amazingly well. We follow Josh’s adventures as he wades through the bureaucracy of office life and John frequently takes us aside to share his observations.
Every character in the film is pitch perfect. If you have ever worked at a law firm, in an office or for a temp agency, you will most likely recognize the people. Bob Shelby is easily one of the funniest characters ever created for a film and Warren Keith is brilliant in bringing the stoic, emotionless lawyer to life. He almost steals every scene he is in. This is quite an accomplishment considering the actor playing against him, Josh Kornbluth, created the character. Keith’s monotone is very evocative of a supervisor who wants to do a great job, expects his employees to do a great job, but can’t quite summon the will to enforce this desire.
Josh Kornbluth is hilarious playing a character that he goes to great pains to try to convince the audience is fictional. He makes frequent observations, which is usually a technique that is sure to annoy me, but his observations are very funny, very accurate and well-timed. He has to deal with the stigma of being a temp, the quick revelation of going perm, his various office workers, office machines, procrastination, artificial environments, desperate office celebrations, security guards and computer professionals who work all hours. There isn’t a single joke in the film which doesn’t create a laugh.
Marlina D’Amore, played by Helen Shumaker, is also perfect. Slightly condescending, finally embracing the role of mother to the office, she walks around with an all-knowing, silent attitude which is simply a marvel to behold. “Josh, would you like to go… perm?”
Mindy, Clifford and DaVonne (Amy Resnick, Brian Thorstenson and June Lomena respectively) are the three other secretaries in the office. Each is a perfect example of a specific type of office worker you have already met. Each is well-thought out and very unique. It is unusual to have this level of detail for the individual characters in any film. These three have been in the office long enough to recognize all of the ins and outs. “She’s a pusher” and “Hi, Josh. So we hear you went Perm?” are just two of their many funny lines.
“Haiku Tunnel” is a rare thing. The pitch perfect, consistently funny and inventive comedy.
“Haiku Tunnel” is being released by an independent company, I think Sony Classics. Their support of this film seems to be minimal at best. It is playing at a very large independent theater in town, yet everyone I have told about it has never heard of it.
You, lucky reader, have heard of “Haiku Tunnel” and can no search it out when it comes to a small theater in your town. Don’t miss it. Well worth your hard-earned money.