The award-winning comedy short A Ninja Pays Half My Rent (2002) is completely pokerfaced, well written, well acted, well scored, brilliantly edited, & most of all, funny.
Barry (Timm Sharp) is out jogging with his buddy (Steve Yager) when they get in a discussion of Barry's roommate, a ninja assassin (Shin Koyamado).
In flashbacks we see this roommate, a very classic Japanese ninja constantly in full ninja costume readiness, only his glowering eyes visible from his largely hidden face.
"He's just like any other roommate. We're working out our differences," says Barry. We see their clashes of personality in several flashback sequences that are terribly funny.
The "pass me the syrup" dust-up during which the ninja sits at breakfast in perfect silence, unmoving, is a total hoot. The showering sequence in which the ninja sneaks warily out of the shower -- he is still as always in full ninja costume but with a towel wrapped around his waist.
With the unexpected appearance of the sinister Red Ninja (director Steven K. Tsuchida), arch enemy of our hero's roommate, the fun shifts to fun suspense.
"He's the perfect roommate, " says Barry to his jogger buddy. "He's neat. He's quiet. He can kill someone with his bare hands."
But when our jogger returns home, he's got a final surprise waiting for him, a straight-faced comedy climax that is the perfect capper to an effective wee tale. At only about five minutes, it's got about five good laughs built into it, one after another, then the perfect capper. Kind of brilliant really.
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