By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
“Normal”, suburban two-parent household kids have stories to tell, too. The trick is telling a new one, which writer/director/star Josh Radnor has mixed success at. Happythankyoumoreplease follows several young artists/professionals inNew York City as they struggle with love, life, and all that mess. Oh, and there’s an abducted foster child plot thrown in there as well.
You’ll recognize Josh Radnor as How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Mosby, and just like in that show he’s a charming and relatable protagonist. The rest of the cast is also quality, from Malin Ackerman, Zoe Kazan, and Kate Mara to Richard Jenkins and Buster Bluth himself Tony Hale.
It’s hard to shake this image once you have it
The film is well shot, the production values are good, and the actors do their best with the material, which, if nothing else, is something we all can relate to. Everyone has been/is young and at a crossroads or struggled in their love life.
Not if you’ve got mad abs like these, brah
About that telling a new story… I really hope Radnor didn’t think he was doing that. He follows a straight checklist of indie heart-tugger/romantic conventions. Struggling writer? Check. Couple facing growing up/pregnancy? Check. Lovable loser stalkily seeking soulmate? Check. Canned philosophy? Check. I’d go on but I’m afraid of speeding up my carpal tunnel clock.
The one thing these characters do set themselves apart with is their consistently bad decision-making. Radnor finds a lost foster child on the subway and just kind of keeps him for a week. Mara’s character agrees to shack up for three days with Radnor, who she’s just met, and the child, and then wonders where the drama came from. Perhaps worse, Ackerman falls for the guy at work who corners her in her cubicle periodically and showers her with corny jokes when he’s not secretively taking pictures of her.
Photo by: graur razvan ionut
An approach that gets me mixed results
About that lovable foster child- he’s hardly used. All the marketing seems to indicate his and Radnor’s relationship would be the focus of the film, but for long stretches he’s pretty much abandoned at the apartment while the rest of the cast does their confused 20-something bit. His interaction with Radnor is the best part of the movie, and slicing out some of the retread subplots in favor of more of that would have made a better, though still not very original, film.
If you still tear up at Hallmark gift cards and/or just want some inoffensive background noise you could do a lot worse.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you spot a movie cliche
Take a Drink: every time someone can’t make a decision
Drink a Shot: every time Rasheen says something (you’ll have to be vigilant!)