Friday, July 11, 2014

Happythankyoumoreplease (2010)

HappythankyoumorepleaseI'm not going to summarize the story. Plenty of that already out there. My thoughts about the movie are that if you like movies that focus on the characters and their relationships rather than a linear story, this movie is a rare treat. Extremely well thought out. Bad title almost kept me away. Glad I took a chance. I thought it was fantastic in all areas. Interesting relationships with likable people, many life lessons mostly well presented, good production value, score was beautiful, smart character studies, perfectly understated delivery by the actors. Found myself pausing to think about what was presenting at the moment. Clearly the best of the current bunch playing.

I think that it's become my mantra--"quirk is the curse of independent cinema." In an effort to be cutesy and/or clever, films have been systematically stripping away genuine warmth and humor by presenting character types and sitcom contrivances instead of mining what is really funny in our everyday foibles. It becomes a fine balancing act, then, because a good quirky film can be both hysterical and touch your heartstrings. However, one that goes over the top can be painfully unreal and hard to sit through. And, in my opinion, there is very little middle ground. Josh Radnor's (How I Met Your Mother) debut feature "HappyThankYouMorePlease" cues you in right away with its title to its eccentric feel good nature. But after a pretty painful beginning and one incredibly off-putting storyline, Radnor's film overcomes its cliches with a likable cast selling even its most awkward moments.

Radnor, who also wrote and directed the film, stars as a typical commitment-phobic man/child. A New York writer (who supports himself with absolutely no discernable source of income), Radnor engages in an appropriately zany new romance with a very appealing Kate Mara. In addition, he encounters a little boy on the subway that seems to have nowhere to go. While I won't divulge much here, what Radnor does with the boy is so outrageously improbable and illogical--it strains every notion of suspension of disbelief. As a central plot line, you have to give up all reason and just go with it. But it seriously almost completely derails the entire film. Much better are the other two story lines--co-workers Malin Akerman and Tony Hale beginning an unlikely romance and couple Zoe Kazan and Pablo Schreiber entering a new dimension of their life together.

Aside from Radnor, the other main characters seem much more grounded and relatable. As their relationships evolve, there is a tender believability that can be quite engaging. And Mara, despite the script's uneven tone, brings real warmth to her role as a struggling cabaret singer and waitress. But the film still relies on some unnecessary quirks to make it utterly irresistible (but trust me, I resisted!). Radnor is apparently supposed to be so winning that everyone forgives his eccentricities and irresponsibility, but he doesn't come off very well. Akerman's character has alopecia (isn't it wacky that she's bald?), but far worse is the fact that she has a party to lecture all her friends about her condition. What--didn't they notice when she lost her hair? Seems the subject probably would have been dealt with on an individual basis, but it's so much more eccentric to have a party! Of course, the soundtrack is also littered with expected indie artists delivering heartfelt songs that parallel the plot--Radnor really followed the play book. Yet, the film still had a sweet tone and some nice moments. For lighthearted escapism, it works fine. About 3 1/2 stars, I'll round up for the extended cast and two of the three central stories. KGHarris, 5/11.

Buy Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) Now

Sam Wexler is a lonely, struggling writer living in Manhattan. While rushing to make it on time to an interview with a publisher, he rescues a cute orphan boy, Rasheen, who is lost on the subway. The interview is ruined. To complicate matters, Rasheen won't allow Sam to take him to the police. Sam falls in love with Mississippi, a gorgeous waitress who is a struggling singer. Sam's best friend, Annie, has low self esteem because of an autoimmune deficiency that has left her bald; she is attracted to losers like a magnet but has been deflecting the advances of a successful, kind-hearted lawyer, Sam 2, who works in her company. Sam's other friends, Mary-Catherine and Charlie, who live together, are afraid of taking their relationship one step further to the marriage altar.

An evangelist once taught me that Christians should have an attitude of gratitude. In other words, we should always be thankful for what we have been given. When Annie once stepped into a cab, the Indian driver told her she had the potential to be very happy if she always said "Thank you" and followed it with "More please." Charlie once told Mary-Catherine that LA was a blank canvas that reflects one's attitudes. If you believe you're going to love LA, then you'll see it as the best city in the world. From watching "HappyThankYouMorePlease," I've learned that, in order to achieve success, love, happiness, and all the other good things in life, one must believe in oneself and have a positive attitude that one will obtain them. This is a spiritual concept that is prevalent in most religions.

"HappyThankYouMorePlease" is a sweet, quirky, uplifting film that is fun to watch. It will encourage the lovelorn not to lose hope in finding someone special and eventually having a family. I believe that Sam's reluctance to surrender Rasheen to the authorities is the product of his subconscious desire to have a family. He is pushing thirty and his biological clock (men also have them) is probably screaming for him to begin reproducing. As soon as Sam finds the adorable surrogate "son", he finds the adorable surrogate "wife", Mississippi. He barely knows her when he practically begs her to move into his apartment. Mary-Catherine and Charlie are close to the altar but are having commitment issues. Several surprises help spur them onward. I think Annie is extremely attractive (I love her wardrobe); unfortunately, she doesn't. She soon learns after dating the witty, sincere lawyer that true beauty comes from within.

The soundtrack is excellent. Much of the music, provided by singer/songwriter Jaymay, contains lyrics that complement the film's drama. The DVD contains a short featurette that focuses on Jaymay. Also, the DVD has deleted scenes that further explain what is transpiring in the film; they are essential viewing. They include one disturbing scene in which Rasheen kicks and beats on a boy who purposely walked into him. When Sam scolds him, Rasheen asks him if he's going to beat him. This scene hints at the abuse the little boy must've suffered at the hands of his foster parents and why he doesn't want to return to them. Without this scene, the film does not contain any violence. Neither does the film contain graphic depictions of sex. There is only the frequent use of the four-letter "f" word, which gives it an R rating.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has provided an excellent presentation of "HappyThankYouMorePlease" on DVD. As mentioned before, it has a featurette on Jaymay and deleted scenes; it also has a theatrical trailer and audio commentary provided by Producer/Writer/Director/Actor Josh Radnor (star of the hit television series "How I Met Your Mother") and Producer Jesse Hara. The film is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has English and Spanish subtitles. Thank you Anchor Bay for providing subtitles for those of us who are hearing impaired.

"HappyThankYouMorePlease" is not a raunchy, hormonally driven sex comedy. It is an emotionally uplifting, inspirational, teary-eyed romance that gives people like me, who've been single for a very long time, hope that there is someone out there for them. Though it is not totally realistic, it does, however, provide excellent advice on having a positive attitude towards one's self image and self worth. In order to be loved, one must first love oneself. Remember Whitney Houston's hit song, "Greatest Love of All." The greatest love of all is learning to love oneself. How very true. In conclusion, I must state that this film has made me very Happy. To Josh Radnor, I must say, "Thank You." Furthermore, I beseech him to please make more movies like this one. "More Please."

Joseph B. Hoyos

Read Best Reviews of Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) Here

This movie has a "little engine that could" feel about it: it wants to be better than it is. And it's trying very hard. The actors are talented, the script has potential, but the characters could be more interesting than they are allowed to be, and somehow it never quite pulls together.

A slice of life movie, there is no great plot twist or even much of a character arc-it's just a few days in the lives of young adults finding their way in New York City. Which is part of the problem: too many other (better) films of this genre come to mind. This film adds nothing new to the genre. And the ultimate fate of the characters is just too neat and nice.

Even though parts of the film really made no sense (the main character doesn't seem to have much of an income yet maintains an apartment alone in NYC; he essentially kidnaps a child, but that's somehow OK because he means well-even though he leaves the child alone in his apartment?) there's an overarching sincerity about the production that makes it hard to completely dismiss.

The supporting couples played by Zoe Kazan and Pablo Schreiber, and Malin Akerman and Tony Hale are actually more interesting than the lead couple, Josh Radnor and Kate Mara. The movie would have been better if those characters could have been developed more.

The movie tries hard. I suspect director/writer Josh Radnor learned a lot while making this film, so his next effort will be even better.

Want Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) Discount?

"What if you don't know whats best for you?" After struggling writer Sam Wexler (Radnor) takes in a small child who is left behind on a subway he begins on a course that will change his life. Stuck in a posisition of what's more important between the kid, his book or love life, Sam is left trying to find out who he is. This is the type of movie that I have talked about before, a movie that because of no CGI and small budget gets forgot about by the studios and does not get the advertising it deserves. This is one of the best movies of the year, and will continue to be one of the least scene. Very dissapointing considering more people have seen and will continue to see movies like "Drive Angry". Taking away the fact that Radnor both wrote and directed this, Malin Akerman is a huge surprise in this one. Much like Milla Jovovich in "Stone" she is the definate break out acting star in this one. In a drastic change from her usual choice she far and away steals the movie and proves that she is a joy to watch even with her clothes on. Besides Akerman, the acting all around is excellent, but the fact that the budget is under $100,000 and no comic book hero or a car that becomes a robot this will not be seen by the audience that it deserves. This is the type of movie there needs to be more of, but because of greed the studios refuse to take a chance on interesting movies like this one in favor of the next comic book hero, or the next sequel that doesn't seem necessary. Overall easily one of the top ten best movies of the year so far. I give it an A.

Would I watch it again? Yes, I would.

*Also try Garden State & Jolene

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