Monday, 7 May 2012

HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE DVD review

So How I Met Your Mother's Ted Mosby decided to make a movie. But it is any good, or is it the saccharine piece of crap it looks like from the cover? There's only one way to find out.


When young orphan Rasheen gets lost on the subway, struggling writer Sam (Josh Radnor), getting no help from the authorities, takes him under his wing to teach him the important things in life like arts appreciation and how to woo women. Unsure of what to do with Rasheen, Sam seeks the help of his friends, including Alopecia suffering Annie (Malin Akerman) and lovesick Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan), as well as the dream girl he keeps meeting around the city, Mississippi (Kate Mara).


I feel a bit sorry for Happythankyoumoreplease. After making a bit of a splash at Sundance 2010 followed by a brief theatrical run in the States, it eventually arrives on our shores dumped straight to DVD with a terrible sparkly cover that doesn't even begin to compare to the greatness of the original poster. Maybe with that title they were just asking for it. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a romantic movie that will appeal to a female audience, but it's obvious High Fliers don't know how to market it properly, loading the DVD with trailers for films that came out 5 years ago. I Could Never Be Your Woman, anyone?

There's a long list of successful TV actors who think they can cut it in the independent movie industry but, careful not to 'do a Zach Braff' and be a one hit wonder, Radnor has since followed this up with another Sundance hit, Liberal Arts. After all, what he really wants to do is direct. Filled with the grand romantic gestures you'd expect from Ted Mosby, it manages to not be quiet as naive as How I Met Your Mother by including a creeping inevitability that things are going to go wrong for Sam at some point.

Whilst Sam and Rasheen play Cop and a Half around NYC, they keep crossing paths with Sam's dream girl, Mississippi (Kate Mara). Starting a romance with Mississippi, he suggests they skip right past the one night stand and try moving in together for three days. That might sound horrendously sickly, but come the morning after the night before, it's the look of terror on Sam's face from the crushing realisation of what he has suggested that's the more memorable scene.

The real emotional drama comes from the women's stories, in particular Zoe Kazan's arts supply store worker, Mary Catherine, and Malin Akerman's lost in love Anne. Their relationship problems are more complex and weighty, and if not for Sam's existence in the lives of these Manic Pixie Dream Girls as their non-sexual best friend, they could almost be in different films. 

Despite a cutesy looking premise and a title that is purposely supermegaindiefilm friendly, there's a lot to enjoy about Happythankyoumoreplease. 
Josh Radnor, complete with director's beard for his debut feature, has wisely surrounded himself with actresses with indie credentials like Kate Mara and Zoe Kazan, who add a lot of value to the film. It is basically an aimless romp around New York looking at the lives of a bunch of privileged, hip 20-somethings, but thanks to some solid female roles, Happythankyoumoreplease rises above the indie movie mope-fest it could have been to become an enjoyable viewing experience, and for that, first time writer/director Radnor should be commended.


Verdict




Special Features:
+Scene Selection

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