The cautionary fable “No Tiene Gracia (Not Funny)” is a darkly comic blend of something Aesop might have served up back in ancient Greece, combined with a pinch of Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.” I won’t give away the moral of the tale, but the 15-minute journey, courtesy of Spanish director-writer Carlos Violadé Guerrero, is worth the wait. The film has already received recognition from a handful of the dozen film festivals where it’s been screened, including a runner-up notch at Palm Springs in the Best Short Film (15 minutes and under) category.
Manolo (Andrés Berlanga) is a curly-haired prankster whose good-hearted partner, Maria (Mercedes Bernal), has suffered through his innumerable mischievous acts like St. Monica, the patron saint of patience. C’mon, what adult in his right mind paints eyeballs on his eyelids? Manolo. The grimaces and strange faces he makes as the screen darkens and lightens—Manolo is too fond of flicking their bed board lamp switch—are briskly edited together by Mercedes Cantero. One night, however, the ever playful child-man-jester believes he has gone a step too far, and must deal with a very uncomfortable situation.
Pillow talk will never be the same, because “Not Funny,” gives you that Spielbergian thrill—a shark in the water—that creeps up and bites you when you least expect it. Violadé Guerrero takes you along for a short, gripping ride. The joke stops here.