Notable Cast: Josh Radnor, Kate Mara, Malin Akerman, Tony Hale, Pablo Schreiber, Zoe Kazan
Review: Ted Mosby…writer/director? His real name is Josh Radnor, and he’s more than just the lovable lead actor of “How I Met Your Mother.” Happythankyoumoreplease reviewed well amongst the festival circuit, granting it a February 18th, 2011 release date and giving Radnor his first directorial release. It’s feel shoots for that of a down to earth and realistic romantic comedy with some severe indie undertones complete with a quirky nonsensical acoustic soundtrack. The film rarely gets bogged down in its indie nature and actually does keep a sense of realism throughout, but struggles at times making us feel for our lovelorn characters. Happythankyoumoreplease is already leaps and bounds better than most other romantic comedies because it deals with real life issues and real human emotions, and not some magical Hollywood love story. It still has plenty of flaws, but at least Happythankyoumoreplease boasts filmmaking more focused on raw emotion than fake and fantastical storytelling.
Sam (Radnor) is an aspiring writer trying to find love in New York City. One morning, he sees a child get separated from his family on the subway, so Sam tries to do the right thing by returning him to safety. Tricky part is, Rasheen (Michael Algieri) refuses to go home and wants to stay with Sam. That’s dilemma number one. Sam meets a girl named Mississippi (Mara) whom he develops feelings for, but he has to prevent the rest of his life from getting in the way of her. Dilemma number two. Annie (Akerman) is Sam’s good friend, suffering from Alopecia Universalis which has a side effect of hair loss, who struggles with commitment because of her self-image. Charlie (Schreiber) and Mary Catherine (Kazan) are having relationship problems of their own, when Charlie is offered a job that would require them both to move to LA. It’s a story about loving others, loving ourselves, and loving where we are in life enough to be able to say “Thank you, more please!”
There are moments where Happythankyoumoreplease seems like something special and makes you believe it can be the next 500 Days of Summer. It’s funny, it’s quirky, and some can even identify with the hardships our characters must face. Sometimes. The rest of the time, our characters act like whiney self-absorbed children who just cry and bitch when faced with a problem. Malin Akerman’s character Annie is the only character that makes it through the film showing genuine personality, and a powerful performance on the part of Akerman. The rest try to achieve the same status, but their problems seem much more trivial in retrospect. Be it Randor’s character who complains about how hard it is to be a writer the whole time, or Schreiber’s character who just expects his girlfriend to want to up and move out west on a whim. Zoe Kazan’s character just irrationally hates LA and is unfairly stubborn towards her partner. God forbid life doesn’t just magically conform to your wants and needs, right? Please, it was easier to scoff at these character’s utter selfishness than feel any sort of sympathy for their situations. I take that back, I do feel sympathy for Schreiber’s character because he has to deal with a lover who can’t even give him a good reason as to why she doesn’t want a better life and why she can’t reason with him rationally. “LA is stupid.” Really? Go back to kindergarten. It doesn’t help a film when you can sit there and point out just how terrible these people are who are supposed to be looking for love, but taking for granted what is right in front of them.
There were some charming scenes with child star Michael Algieri and Randor as they formed an unlikely relationship through his apparent kidnapping. In the movie, instead of reporting the missing child to the proper authorities, Sam takes Rasheen home with him like a stray animal found on the street because Sam suspects Rasheen is being neglected at his home. I’ll let the apparent ridiculousness of it all go because in the movie, Randor and his pint-sized sidekick have the best chemistry out of all the couples. It’s the typical man learns life lessons from small child story arc with an illegal twist, but with just enough mutual respect to make you strangely alright with keeping a small child for your pet. Randor’s truest emotions were for the child, not in a creepy way, while their conversations were again some of the best on-screen. The film could always fall back on Sam’s relationship with Rasheen to break the tension created by our horribly self-centered stars. “Wah Wah I hate my life…why do you still have a small black child you said you’d get rid of two days ago?” Right, sorry, you’re too busy worrying about finding a girlfriend to care that some foster mom is probably freaking out calling police and scouring New York City for her lost child. No biggie though, right Sam?
In the world of romantic comedies, Happythankyoumoreplease delivers on not falling into the usual Hollywood stereotypes. Too bad it squanders the head start by being composed of annoying characters and selfish problems. Not to mention it encourages extremely illegal actions just because you’ve convinced yourself you’re doing the “right thing.” Malin Akerman delivers a deeply involved characterization of a young woman struggling with a physically altering disease, and also is the only character with a justifiable reason to complain. Yet, she keeps the most up beat and inspiring. I respect Radnor for attempting to create a true love story for the common folk, but he gets too caught up on striking upon some indie edginess that would elevate his film to a 500 Days of Summer-esque popularity. More please? I’ll pass for now.
Final Rating: 6.5 whiney beatniks out of 10