Two minutes or so into 'Hannah Takes The Stairs,' the little film that's had its proverbial shaggy haircut lovingly mussed by every critic under the sun, a dickish but clueless boss character announces to his employees that he's gonna "go check my email and update my blog and all that." Upon hearing this line, the entire audience of the 8 p.m. screening of the film at the IFC Center last night broke out in hearty laughter that sounded remarkably like 200 American Apparel-clad backs being self-patted simultaneously. Also, one person literally started applauding. If only I'd left then!
On seeing the preview, I thought I could relate, a bit, to our heroine Hannah. (That's the idea, right? She's supposed to represent a generation.) And she's my age, and her job seems to basically consist of sitting around cracking jokes with her coworkers all day in a fake office, and she's bad at relationships. She can't break up with her going-nowhere musician boyfriend so he has to break up with her by saying "I'm just going to make this easier on you. I'm breaking up with you because you're breaking up with me." She then immediately starts dating a coworker, who seduces her by telling her how "bright" she is (though there's very little empirical evidence of this in the film). He finishes his spiel about how great she is by saying, "and that's why I go to work every day." Awww! EWWW.
This is when the movie started to strain credulity. For starters, the actress who plays Hannah, Greta Gurwig, is megahot, like a 9.5 at least, with fantastic tits, too. And the guy who plays her coworker-seducer, filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, is so irretrievably fug. Seriously, there's a scene where he's in boxers during which I was basically cowering under my seat. The moles on his back, my God! His man-teats! His TEETH! The notes I took during this scene read, in toto, "Omg dude is so fug. Omg his JEANS. I wish I had gone to see the Bourne
What strains credulity even more is that this repellently ugly dude eventually starts ignoring Hannah. He's, theoretically, distracted because a "New York agent" is a "fan of the blog."
"Oh my god, your blog's gonna be a book!" shrieks Hanna upon hearing this news. Ha, as if. This scene made the movie seem at least two years old. Anyway, maybe he's really ignoring Hannah because she's fucking annoying? There's nothing worse than when actresses try to convey "quirky and neurotic" by basically acting drunk or stoned all the time and trying to convey "incredibly naturalistic" by just taking forever to spit out a sentence. Here's a tip, indie filmmakers: sometimes, in real life, people are quite articulate! Maybe write a movie about those type of people.
Also I just think that the fetishization of "neurotic hottie" as a lady-type should be banned. Seriously, guys, Annie Hall was great but get over it.
At the hour and a half mark, the audience began to fidget as one as a predictable love triangle emerged. Eventually, an overlong set piece where people play the trumpet badly in a bathtub finally ended the film (of course, right?). There was one good speech Hannah has at the end, though—it's excerpted in the trailer that made me think I might like this movie. It's about how "Do you think having crushes on people is kind of manic? And after it becomes real it stops being thrilling." On the one hand, some people can't hear this often enough. On the other hand: Duh.