Haiku Tunnel

on September 14, 2001 by Jon Alon Walz
   An awkward mishmash of styles and genres hopelessly misfiring on all one of its inadequate cylinders is tossed out there for the world to see in the Kornbluth brothers' office-politics comedy "Haiku Tunnel"--a film truly and completely about nothing. If one can imagine Mike Judge's brilliant "Office Space" reconceived as a high-school summer-project mock-documentary, then those few moments spent contemplating that possibility has no less than 10 times the comic octane of "Haiku Tunnel."

   Josh Kornbluth stars as himself in a story presumed to have been culled from his actual experiences as a temporary employee in a San Francisco law firm. A desk assignment with lawyer Bob Shelby (Warren Keith) gives poor Josh little to do with his day, expect pretty much zone out and use the free long-distance. His one assignment is to type up and mail 17 important letters to Shelby's clients. That's it. Over the course of 90 excruciatingly slow minutes, Josh procrastinates and procrastinates his assignment far beyond the deadline, and then mails them out at the very, VERY last second before the movie ends.

   "Haiku Tunnel" could have been a nice little short film that would have played neatly on the Independent Film Channel or Sundance Channel. But save for a quick and delightful cameo by Harry Shearer ("This is Spinal Tap's" own Derek Smalls) as a monotoned copier-repair representative (which in itself would have been a terrific short film), there is nothing in story, character or performance to recommend this murky and badly photographed film. Starring Josh Kornbluth, Warren Keith and Harry Shearer. Directed by Josh Kornbluth and Jacob Kornbluth. Written by Josh Kornbluth, Jacob Kornbluth and John Bellucci. Produced by Brian Benson, Josh Kornbluth and Jacob Kornbluth. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Comedy. Rated R. 90 min

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