Monday, February 6, 2012

happythankyoumoreplease. A Review.

     happythankyoumoreplease was written and directed by Josh Radnor.  Josh Radnor is best knows as Ted from How I Met Your Mother. I bring this up because I suppose if you're the one person who enjoys Ted on HIMYM, you might enjoy Radnor's character in happythankyoumoreplease; he's basically Ted who says fuck and has a beard. (Yes, there was an episode of HIMYM where Ted had a beard. Not the point.) Radnor offers nothing new, in fact, I would say he offers much less.
     Studio descriptions of the movie call it "generational." It's about 20-somethings on the verge. I suppose every generation needs their 20-somethings on the verge movie. This ain't it. It's possible I'm just too outside the generation this movie is speaking to; perhaps I'm too much of an adult to relate to this rag-tag group of friends just trying to figure things out. I may not be the film's target audience. Except I'm only barely outside that generation so no, that can't be it.
     The main character, Sam (Radnor), is a writer. He's a writer because that's what Radnor knows and romanticizes. There seems no other great reason for this character to be a writer. He could have done anything else. Based on the fact that he is not homeless, he must be a successful writer, even though he spends a lot of time pondering his prospects as a novelist. Dear Sam, you're 29--nobody feels sorry for you.
     Very early in the film Sam becomes linked to, or saddled with, a child who got left on the subway. At one point the kid runs and Sam chases him and says "hey, can we stop running? I'm 29." Wakka wakka. Because 29 is old! People start dying at 29! It's all over at 29! Shut up, Josh Radnor.
    The film felt like Josh Radnor read Screenwriting for Dummies, watched a few episodes of his show, and then just went to work. Had this script been handed in by any other 29-year-old indy writer, it most likely would have been rejected. Even when the stakes got big, they were still small. Really bad things should have happened, but I suppose because Radnor is a white guy, nothing too terrible does.
     There are very few original lines of dialogue. How many times in real life do people actually ask each other "What are you afraid of?" It must be tons, because it keeps coming up. The cliched dialogue and situations were abundant. I was bored. I did not care what happened to any of the people on the screen. Within the first 5 minutes of the film I "got it." I could see where Radnor was trying to be funny, and trying to be cute, trying to be edgy, and trying to be original. Of course, when you can see where he's trying to do those things, it usually means he's failed at them. He sat down to write some quirky instead of something true that turned out to be quirky.
     Kate Mara is in it, and she's nice, but mostly I just wanted her to get out. Her character made bad decisions. Josh Radnor flatters himself believing women like Kate Mara would fall for indecisive ass-messes like him. Kate Mara's character was named Mississippi. Also dumb. Not quirky, just dumb.
     Also, I reject the premise that Tony Hale is an ugly man. That's just unfair and not true. Sure, he can make himself look goofy at times. And maybe he started kinda balding a little bit early. But of the cast you've assembled, he is not the ugly guy. I was very put off by the story line that involved Tony Hale's character as the ugly guy who eventually wins over Malin Akerman's bald heart with his words. Her description of suddenly seeing him as an attractive man were more insulting that enlightened. He is an attractive man, you're just a shallow bitch. This may be another area where I'm too old to understand the new definition of attractive, though.
     The tag line for happythankyoumoreplease is "Go Get Yourself Loved." That's dumb. I was going to put a picture of it at the top of the post, but I didn't want it mistaken for an endorsement. I do not endorse this film. happythankyoumoreplease was Josh Radnor's masturbatory pet project. It was boring and predictable.

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