At first glance, this movie smells of Woody Allen all over and boy… did I like it! HappyThankYouMorePlease premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (where it won a couple of awards) and the amazing feel this indie film has compelled me to review it.
It’s a coming-of-age movie about a group of friends based in New York. Sam (Josh Radnor), a struggling writer is best friends with Annie (Malin Åkerman ), an Alopecia patient who is searching for a reason to be loved. There is Sam # 2 (Tony Hale) who gives Annie hope for a relationship she would like. Then there is Sam’s cousin, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan, Elia Kazan’s granddaughter) who is facing a crisis in her relationship with her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber).
The movie starts off with Sam accidentally meeting and “adopting” Rasheen (Michael Algieri), a six year old boy with a mysterious background. Sometime along this, he meets Mississippi (Kate Mara), a cabaret singer with whom he decides to have a “three night stand” because she is over one night stands. The movie sets pace when conflict arises within and amongst these characters.
Josh Radnor wrote this movie during the first and the second season of How I Met Your Mother (He plays Ted Moseby in HIMYM) and then sought independent funding for the film for about two years after which this film eventually got made with him as the director.
The movie has a very urban feel and the typical New Yorker is brought out by the characters in the movie. The screenplay by Josh Radnor is realistic and his portrayal of New York is way different from the New York one sees in F.R.I.E.N.D.S or HIMYM. It is a darker, mature landscape where people do step outdoors. The movie is superbly shot with no high-funda tricks which in effect emphasises on the story and the people whose story it is. The subway scenes are so well shot (with the use of dim lighting) that you do feel the intensity of the situation. The characters are very identifiable and they grow with all the problems they face. The soundtrack of the movie consists of American folk songs which deepen the ‘New York effect’. Most of them have been composed by the Indie artist Jay May (who is also from New York) and it garnishes the movie so well. The music has been reproduced by Michael Brake, music editor for How I Met Your Mother. Andy Gowan is the music supervisor and is also the music supervisor for the same show. Maybe that’s the reason that the music plays such an important role in the movie even though it is so subtle.
I really loved Malin Åkerman’s performance which overshadowed even Radnor’s failure-writer act which I must add was undoubtedly real too (not to forget his look with his stubble!). Michael Algieri has very few lines because his character is written that way. Anyway, good actors hardly need any lines at all!
I loved the movie personally though a lot of people will find it drab and boring and will question why this is classified as a comedy. Mind you, comedy doesn’t just mean no-brainer movies like Hangover; this is the kind of film that tells you that good films are still being made out there!