Along the way, Saul rages and reveals the biggest targets of his insecurity: men like Miller, who ravage the town and tear his heart out hard because, like Mr. Krabs, they love money. This reading of Miller’s character is suggested and confirmed in a few scenes, including an endless and enthusiastic three-minute sex scene where Miller’s character grimaces as three lingerie-clad women climb onto his knees and then stimulate each other with a sort of of mechanics. Efficiency. It’s a ridiculous scene, partly because of its length, but also because of Miller’s deliberately obnoxious and emotionally flat character. It’s more of a sandwich board than a person, a blank slate Sutton uses to repeat a well-worn strain of urban paranoia. The yuppies are still ruining our city because they are still selling luxury apartments to foreign investors (who don’t live here). “This town cares about the money” Saul moans to Zama before hitting the Town Car dashboard, he talks about the Knicks and the Nets, but really, Saul is the same.
I believe men like developer Miller exist, but I don’t believe he does because he’s always angry and declaiming, and passively waits for others to accept him for who he obviously is. No wonder “Funny Face” ends in a parking lot; there is nowhere to go since Sutton has already immersed us in this very literal corner. Miller’s character does not have the capacity to change. He’s the one he introduced as: in a first scene, a group of nameless yes-men toast Miller’s character, and thank him for making them “dirty and rich.”
None of this is as interesting as the relationship between Saul and Zama. Saul clearly wants to understand Zama, but is also too self-centered to do anything other than spend time with her, so she teaches him to act just by being with him. I don’t think Sutton really knows who Meskienyar’s character is either, and it shows in the scene where she tries to replace her niqab at a clothing store specializing in Indian and Southeast Asian dresses, like the saris and abayas. “It’s good, my dear,” reassures the owner of the store in Zama: “I’m from Staten Island.” I don’t know what that means, and I’ve lived in New York City for 34 years (but never on Staten Island). Still, I think I got the idea. I just wish the rest of “Funny Face” was as immediately touching as it was vaguely relatable.