When office temp Josh Kornbluth (played, in semiautobiographical style, by Josh Kornbluth) is offered a permanent position as secretary for a high-powered attorney, his entire world begins to crumble. The psychological ... more »pressure of commitment proves almost too much to bear, leading him to delay mailing 17 very important letters--an oversight that forces him into an all-night adventure that is simultaneously petty and epic. Kornbluth has gained prominence in the world of solo performance, but this is a fully realized film (albeit one in which Kornbluth occasionally talks directly to the camera, offering amusing commentary) that vividly captures the insidious anxiety that office work can inspire. Kornbluth's plump face is engaging; you'll find yourself oddly touched (and a little appalled) by his self-destructive behavior. Haiku Tunnel is a strong contribution to the expanding subgenre of office comedies. --Bret Fetzer« less
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 01/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Laugh Out Loud Funny
Geoffrey Kleinman | Portland, OR USA | 10/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Laugh out loud funny, Haiku Tunnel is a dry and witty look at the universe of the temporary employee and how that world is effected when a job becomes permanent. At the center of Haiku Tunnel is Josh Kornbluth, a 'fictional character' played by writer director Josh Kornbluth who narrates, comments, and pontificates about his life as a temp. Kornbluth is somewhere between Woody Allen, Spaulding Grey and Dilbert with a profound sense of comic timing. One of the stand-out aspects of Haiku Tunnel is Kornbluth's spot-on characterizations of the different type of office people, especially the head secretary of S&M (a law firm), Marlina, played brilliantly by Helen Shumaker. Kornbluth goes beyond the office stereotypes and instead of portraying his fellow co-workers and bosses as 'evil' he manages to find the quirky element in each one which makes them endearing. It's easy to want to draw comparisons between The Haiku Tunnel and a movie like Office Space but the two films are more different than alike. Haiku Tunnel ultimately is less about working in an office, and more about feeling impermanent and transitionary. When it does lampoon the working world, the results are hilarious, but the real core comes out of Josh's search for himself. Haiku Tunnel is extremely funny and completely enjoyable, and I highly recommend it. [Geoffrey Kleinman,"
It's Not "Office Space Part 2"
Donald Chewms | firstname.lastname@example.org | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think the biggest problem this movie faces is that people watch it expecting the next Office Space, which really isn't fair to either film. Office Space is, of course, a truly great comedy well on its way to becoming classic. But the style of humor employed in Office Space and Haiku Tunnel is way different.That being said, I don't believe a minute passed in this movie where I wasn't laughing out loud. Although I did not really identify with the main character of Josh in any way (nor any of the characters now that I think about it), I found him to be very interesting and I enjoyed following his daily adventures as a temp gone perm.This movie was a great character study of various people from all walks of life ending up in the same small space, which I'm sure anybody that's worked in any kind of office can relate to. And in between all the comedy is some pretty brilliant social commentary as well. Not to say that intelligent people will automatically like this, nor that those lacking intelligence will not, but this film definitely caters to those who tend to prefer smart humor."
What a hoot.
Athena L. McDevitt | Albuquerque, NM USA | 12/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie on HBO. When the movie started, I did not think much of Josh Kornbluth, I did not find him engaging.However, as the film progressed, I found myself laughing, several times out loud. The next day, I thought of scenes in the movie and found myself laughing over and over again.The beginning of the movie does not seem to lead someone to believe that this is going to be a rip-roaring, laughfest, but in fact it was. The trials and tribulations faced by this character is mountains made out of molehills, with the infamous 17 letters. The secretaries are funny, all the attorneys named Bob are funny, and the oldest bike courier in the world is funny.I really can not say enough great things about this film.It is a quiet comedy and requires some thought and careful attention. But it will have you chuckling for days."
The Best Temp Comedy Ever!
Vincent M. Mastronardi | Michigan | 10/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As if there were a lot of comedies about office temps. Actually the last one (and only other one) I remember was called "Clockwatchers", which was an indie movie that featured Lisa Kudrow, Toni Collette and Parker Posey. This one doesn t have as much star power (although there is a scary looking Harry Shearer making a kind of unnecessary cameo that anyone else could have done) but "Haiku Tunnel" is that rare indie comedy that you think might be slightly funny when you see it one the new release rack. It's much better than that! You know when a movie starts with the Pixies classic "Debaser" that something good is coming up. Josh Kornbluth plays himself (kind of, sort of) in this office comedy of errors. Josh is temp that often works at law firms and while he like most of us can t stand the 9 to 5, he gets by (his solace is the fact that his bed is waiting for him at home). Josh get signals that his latest job might be for the devil, so he better do a good job. He is proficient that he is urged to take permanent status on the first day. He does and that s when things should turn around for this man that lives in the temp zone. It doesn't as he finds a myriad of excuses to prolong an important task that he was suppose to do right away (the mailing out of 17 very important letters). This movie has to be seen to be believed. It is filled with witty dialogues (and monologues), real life scenarios and the talent of this cast. Helen Shumaker (Marlina) is such an excellent comic actor she deserves the Academy Award for Supporting Actress (alas, no nods for this movie). "Haiku Tunnel" is the universal office comedy that is about a loser s loser but he is so real and candid that you can t help but like him and feel his predicament. I unfortunately bought the video on impulse so I can t talk about the extras on the DVD but the movie is a laugh riot. Its a must own or at the very least rent."