HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE is a sharp comedy written and directed by How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor. The story focuses on a group of late 20-somethings who are all struggling with the mysteries of life and love.
Sam Wexler (Radnor) is a freelance writer who lives a modest bachelor lifestyle. While on the subway, he witnesses a small child accidentally swept up in the inflowing human traffic jam. Sam inadvertently “Big Brothers” Rasheen (young Michael Algieri) and the boy quickly opens up dormant emotions inside his new friend. Radnor and Algieri have charming onscreen chemistry, especially when Radnor seeks relationship advice from his elementary-aged house guest on his commitment issues with his new lady friend Mississippi (Kate Mara).
A secondary plot focuses on Sam’s cousin Mary-Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber). Charlie’s business partner offers him a deal which would require him to move from New York to LA. Although both actors played their parts with equal emotion and snarkiness, I found their storyline to be somewhat boring. Kazan had some funny lines and there’s a quirky conversation over the fact that she wears an “I date down” t-shirt. But other than laughing at their reaction to the perfect timing of a homeless man peeing on the street, I was not invested in their plight at all.
Finally, we meet Sam’s best friend Annie (Malin Akerman). Most of the film consists of this spunky girl constantly skirting the resident dork at her work whom she’s affectionately named Sam 2 (played the brilliant Tony Hale). I was impressed with how Akerman’s beautiful display of emotions, even when she isn’t using words. I was nervous I might catch a hint of Buster during Hale’s performance, but the mental road block was brief and then forgotten. Romantic to the core, these were my favorite characters.
HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE is like a Seinfeld episode. On the surface, it was a script about nothing. With that said, some pretty talented actors are able to unpack a somewhat stale storyline, revealing little life lessons tucked away among flirty conversations, drunken nights of debauchery and massive morning hangovers.
Through the instant friendship of a small kid who nobody wants, Sam is able to understand what it means to be responsible for nurturing the heart of someone else. He pours more praise over Rasheen in the three days they spend together than the child probably ever received in his life. This allows him to finally address his commitment issues with Mississippi. She’s messy. He’s messy. He suggests they help clean each other up.
Mary-Catherine and Charlie clearly love each other, but must learn the difficult task of sacrifice and compromise in the name of honor and respect. But I believe the true heart of the story lies with Annie and Sam 2. On their would be final date, Hale steals the show by delivering an eloquent soliloquy, moving Annie to tears.
The moral of the story is that we are all worthy of adoration. Once we find someone who adores us, we will be happy. That’s something to be thankful for. And then we should promptly ask for more please
Video: 1080 High Definition: Blu-ray really allows the viewer to enjoy the special nuances of New York City. Especially the homeless guy peeing on the sidewalk.
Audio: Dolby TrueHD: The indie folk rock soundtrack truly enhances the plight of these young 20-somethings. I will definitely be checking out the soundtrack on iTunes.
Commentary from producer/writer/director: Josh Radnor and producer Jesse Hara: This is your basic commentary. It was interesting to hear Josh’s passion since he wrote and directed the piece. They concentrate on complimenting the actors (rightly so), the music and the attractiveness of Kate Mara.
HAPPYTHANKYOUMORE music PLEASE: Josh Radnor walks the audience through his process of choosing the soundtrack artist Jaymay. He claims that her music is a character of the story. It was organically recorded through the microphone on her computer and emailed to Josh…just her voice and guitar. He reveals that you only have to hear it once to fall in love. Worked for me.
Deleted Scenes:I felt that the story would have benefitted from most of these deleted scenes. We see a vulnerable Annie, heavy fight with Charlie and Mary-Catherine and a severe side to Rasheen.
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