Remember Funny Ha Ha? I once tried to make my 16-year-old brother watch it, and halfway through, he got up and left, not because it was bad, but because, he explained, "It was just too awkward." He was totally right. Maybe, yes, the unscripted film was too close to his own awkward adolescence for comfort. Human beings in rooms together, sometimes not saying anything or just clearing their throats or using "umm" to fill space just like human beings in real life would do. To me, it was kind of brilliant and a sign of something exciting in new films, something that In Search of a Midnight Kiss has taken and made even better. Don't let the chick-flick title fool you. Director Alex Holdridge has taken the clumsy, true-to-life qualities of Bujalski's films and thrown in a little endearing Miranda July for good measure.
This one is about Wilson, a 29-year-old LA resident, who — depending on how you see it — is either an aspiring screenwriter or a debt-ridden, ice cream-binging, pothead layabout with no romantic prospects. Faced with the pressure of having someone to kiss on New Year's Eve, he is brought to an existential crisis and coaxed on by his jolly roommate to do something no respecting layabout would ever do: post a personal ad on craigslist. What saves him from an endless selection of S &M/Hello Kitty Lovers, however, is the subject line: "Misanthrope seeks Misanthrope."
Filmed in black and white, the daily embarrassments of Wilson and his friends seem epic, and indeed, in the way that they try to represent an entire public of lonely artists who are over-educated, underpaid, and flabbergasted by the uncertainties and awkwardness of post-modern adulthood, one could sort of, kind of, maybe, ummm argue that they are.