| June 18, 2011

With a lot of movies, there is an unfortunate sensation of déjà vu involved in the storyline. You wonder to yourself, “Have I seen this before?” While there are some sweet, genuine moments and performances in HappyThankYouMorePlease, it does succumb to this already-been-done formula at times.
Josh Radnor wrote and directed the film, and it’s an admirable first attempt. He plays a freelance writer named Sam, who takes in a young boy named Rasheen who doesn’t want to return to the welfare home where he has been living. From there we meet Sam’s circle of friends. His best friend is Annie (Malin Akerman), who has alopecia. She has a problem finding good men, and doesn’t seem to see that the perfect man for her is right in front of her. Coincidentally, his name is also Sam (a lovely performance from Arrested Development‘s Tony Hale). And, of course, there’s the typical “conflicted couple” friends; however, the best performance in the movie comes from Zoe Kazan, who plays Mary Catherine, who does not know how to keep her relationship together because her boyfriend wants to move to Los Angeles. Kazan is, as always, easy to watch, quirky, interesting…delightful. She always manages to experience such genuine emotions as each character she plays.
The movie also includes a love interest–the interestingly named but extremely boring person Mississippi (Kate Mara), whose only goal in life seems to be to find a boyfriend who will come hear her sing at the nightclub at which she performs. Mara is relatively pretty and not a terrible actress. It’s hard to say if the writing or her own lack of charisma is the reason for her character’s unnecessary presence in the story. Her singing voice is, of course, a tremendous disappointment when we finally hear her at the end of the film and are supposed to be amazed.
It wraps up predictably with Rasheen of course being taken back by the state of New York. Luckily Annie’s Sam is a lawyer and so Sam seems to get off with only a slap on the wrist, instead of the jail time he should probably be serving. Mississippi and Sam most likely end up madly in love. It’s hard to pinpoint why the movie is so unfulfilling. Is it the lack of really inspired characters, the recycled nature of the story, or the fizzle out of an ending? Maybe it’s just the boringness of it all. You have a window into these people’s lives and you see a portion of how they live and then it’s over. Just like this review.

About the Author:

Heather Trow is a nursing assistant and part-time writer. When she is not writing, she is listening to the popular podcast "NEVER NOT FUNNY". Actually, at any given time, most likely, she is listening to the podcast. It's pretty much all she does besides work. It is her favorite thing.
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