Haiku Tunnel begins with a disclaimer to ward off litigation, but this common conceit is still freshly amusing because of Josh Kornbluth’s excellent delivery and material. This film has very little plot, just a basic framework around which to hang comedy: Kornbluth is an archetypal loser-temp who is asked to ‘go perm’ on his first day at a law firm. The stock characters one might expect (a hellish Head Secretary, for example) are in evidence, but played so well that they seem new. The film has very clever touches, such as the sound effects that precede said Head Secretary, and excellent comic timing throughout.
Kornbluth himself is absolutely excellent as the protagonist, completely believable in his earnestness and inability to stick to the job at hand. His delivery of the tale at the center of the film, concerning the Haiku Tunnel, is extremely convincing and gives the sense that there may be a deeper message despite the consistently light touch.
The most important thing, however, is that it made me laugh. A lot. I laughed steadily through the whole movie, and didn’t notice any missteps along the way. It’s set in San Francisco, incidentally, and anyone who has lived here, has experience with law firms, or has been a temp should see it. Haiku Tunnel reminded me of a slightly lighter Living in Oblivion, and if you haven’t seen both those movies, I highly recommend that you rectify this as soon as possible.