happythankyoumoreplease

happythankyou-2

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Ted Mosby and Josh Radnor are inextricably linked in my brain. I’ll call him Ted if I ever met him — he probably hates that. I imagine most actors who become immersed in long running TV shows, such as How I Met Your Mother, have tremendous difficulty shedding those alter egos. Radnor who wrote and then directed himself, as the protagonist, Sam in Happythankyoumoreplease has no one to blame but himself if he fails to distinguish himself suitably. Well, he lucked out, and does an amazing job.

The first thing that caught my attention was the soundtrack, each track seemingly plucked from my own iTunes collection. A excellent collage of contemporary indie-folk artists. Radnor also employs How I Met Your Mother’s musical editor Jaymay to score the film. The soundtrack sets the tone early, a fitting welcome mat to the hipster-friendly New York world we’re about to enter.

Happythankyoumoreplease is a New York story about a group of late twenties friends on the precipice of adulthood. No one quite ready to move on to the “real world,” despite already being consumed with responsibility. We meet Sam, late for an important meeting, as he races out the door into a crammed subway car. Sam’s bored eyes wander over and around each face as the train rumbles down the track. In a truly remarkable piece of editing, we notice, as Sam does, a little boy, Rasheen, accidentally left behind on the train. Already late, but sensing the boy’s fear, Sam scoops him up and they head out to find his lost family.

In the following About A Boy-esque story, Sam, through his relationship with Rasheen, accepts that his life needs direction. The rest of the film rounds itself out with Sam’s friends who are in various states of emotional and relationship decay. While that might sound mundane, overdone and boring. It’s not at all. Radnor is able to take these clichéd devices and inject a fresh sense of realism. The dialogue is quite sharp, it bears a certain authenticity that I’ve longed for in recent indies. The drama isn’t forced, it sprouts directly from the emotion born in the realistic conflicts Radnor has drawn up.

Malin Akerman plays Sam’s best friend, Annie, a woman suffering from Alopecia who is forever falling for the wrong guy. Uh-oh. Again, its sounds SAMO, but it’s not, Akerman infuses Annie with a depth of emotion you rarely find in such sidekick-like characters. Tony Hale (Buster we miss you) comes along and, with his dorky charm and looks, tries to woo Annie. These scenes are charged with an underlying expectation of disaster, which says a lot about how the script sets us up early and pays it off perfectly.

There is something a little too tidy about the ending. Which isn’t to say I don’t think it worked, it did, but it was a touch too saccharine for what I thought up until then was quite a punchy movie. I don’t know where Radnor will go from here, will this be a one-off, or the beginnings of a Baumbach-like career of movies about not-so-great people and relationship meltdowns. I look forward to his next film while hoping the writing stays as sharp and true as it is in Happythankyoumoreplease. Well done Ted Mosby.

tags: happythankyoumoreplease, josh radnor, malin akerman, tony hale

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  • pinkston

    Where in Chicago did you see this?

  • http://nerdynothings.com Noah Nickels

    A buddy of mine got his hands on a screener, I think it opens this weekend though.

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