MOVIE REVIEW: HappyThankYouMorePlease
Avoid this and watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother instead
No more of these movies with 20-something characters drifting around saying things that are supposed to be profound or funny. An older guy at the movie told me it’s hard to watch movies with his kids. He said “My son’s favorite movie is Clerks.” Nothing wrong with that; I love that movie. You see, Kevin Smith was able to capture a bunch of guys in their 20s that just want to hang out, smoke dope, work bad jobs (if they work at all), because there was funny dialog, and we were interested in the stories and/or characters.
I didn’t care about any of the three stories going on in this. One involves a woman with Alopecia who is still in love with her ex, and dismisses a somewhat nerdy guy at her office that likes her. Another couple is fighting because he wants to move from New York to L.A. for work. When his girlfriend talks about all the culture in New York that they won’t have on the west coast, she mentions museums. He responds with “When was the last time you were at a museum?” The movie needed more sharp stuff like that. I think there may have been three good lines in the entire movie.
In fact, why don’t I save you the $11 and tell you the other two funny scenes.
One had a woman wearing an “I Date Down” T-shirt, which upset her boyfriend. He also mentions the ‘I Love Nerds’ shirt she owns. She thinks they’re funny, and exasperatingly says something like “Okay, well…Christmas is around the corner. If you see a shirt that says ‘I date hot studs’ buy it for me.” The only other funny scene is when Radnor asks a kid if he’s hungry and wants French toast. When he nods yes, Radnor says, “Let’s go to the kitchen. I’m gonna go Kramer vs. Kramer on you.” (in reference to a scene in which Dustin Hoffman, after his wife leaves him, has a disaster in the kitchen while trying to make French toast with his young son for the first time).
Josh Radnor, the main protagonist, is the one that wrote and directed this picture. He’s also the actor that plays Ted on How I Met Your Mother. There’s nothing about his voice, personality, or face that is appealing to watch - wouldn’t have held that against him if he said and did interesting things.
His character starts off picking up a kid in the subway and bringing him to a job interview. That’s an implausibility that might have worked, had it been written different. You this, this child Rasheen (the adorable Michael Algieri), admits he has a foster home that he doesn’t like. Radnor feels bad for him, and isn’t sure what to do. When he’s late for a meeting with a book publisher (the always reliable Richard Jenkins), how hard would it have been for him to tell the receptionist “Can you call the police, this boy is lost?” When the police arrive, he could explain the situation to them. Instead, Radnor lets it ruin the job interview, although…we get the feeling Jenkins wasn’t so high on publishing his novel The Other Great Thing About Vinyl, which sounds like the perfect companion piece to the great movie High Fidelity.
Jenkins gives an explanation as to why his short stories work, but the long novel he wrote doesn’t. It made me think about how certain scripts (like this movie), might work in sitcom form, but not as a full-length picture.
The movie goes down the paths that have been covered in so many other films and sitcoms: thisalso has one of those rare movie romances that you don’t care for. It’s with a bartender named Mississippi, who he attracts by using the boy as a prop and saying he’s his “big brother.”
Jerry Seinfeld once had a girl break up with him on the show because she saw his comedy act and didn’t think he was funny. In this, Radnor is on the verge of having Mississippi lost interest in him because he refuses to hear her sing. That’s because he’s afraid she’ll suck, and when he dated an actress that he saw perform horribly in a play, he realized he couldn’t be with somebody that doesn’t know they’re so poor at something. After watching this movie, I’m wondering what Radnor’s real life love interest would say about this picture.
I’m giving it a D-.