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Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/21/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/22/2011
Ah, the actor turned director -- they are an interesting breed. Over the years, we've seen the likes of Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Ron Howard, and more recently, Ben Afflect make the transition from successful actor to respected director. In 2004, things changed somewhat whenScrubs star Zach Braff jumped into the director's chair with Garden State. The movie, an indie dramedy, was accepted by both critics and audiences and showed that the goofy Braff had a serious side. Clearly, How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor hopes to follow in Braff's footsteps with his film Happythankyoumoreplease.
Radnor stars in Happythankyoumoreplease as Sam Wexler, a freelance writer who lives in New York City. While riding the subway on the way to meet with a publisher, Sam notices a little boy who fails to follow his family off of the train. Sam approaches Rasheen (Michael Alqieri) and offers his help, but the boy states that he refuses to return to his foster home. So, Sam takes Rasheen home. He then takes him to a party thrown by his friend, Annie (Malin Ackerman), who has Alopecia. Annie has been through some bad relationships, and she's constantly bugged at work by Sam (Tony Hale). Sam also bumps into his old friend, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan). She is in a relationship with Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) who wants to move to Los Angeles to work in film. The story follows Sam, Anne, and Mary Catherine as they struggle with life and love.
For his first foray into feature film writing and directing, Josh Radnor has chosen the safe "slice of life" genre. Instead of going for any big plot twists or action scenes, the movie instead focuses on the lives of a handful of characters. Of course, this genre is incredibly popular in indie films, and many classic low-budget movies have gone this route. But, the fact that the movies are prevalent doesn't mean that they are easy to make. Radnor has created a movie with a good message, but he definitely makes some rookie mistakes.
Unfortunately, the first mistake comes in the first few minutes of Happythank-youmoreplease and it sets a terrible tone for the movie. Sam meets Rasheen, makes a half-hearted attempt to tell the police, and then takes the boy home. Really? We're supposed to believe that Sam is smart enough to make some sort of living as a writer, but he's not astute enough to know when he's kidnapping someone? I realize that this is a work of fiction and that Sam's relationship with Rasheen becomes a tentpole of the movie, but it's simple impossible to believe that anyone would lug around a kid that they didn't know simply because the child didn't want to go home. This sets up a terrible situation where we're waiting for Sam to get busted, or we're going to hate the movie if the authorities don't step in and do something. But, the movie makes no attempt to add any suspense to this situation -- Sam and Rasheen simply hang out as if that's what's supposed to happen in this situation.
This gaff aside, the rest of the film is hit or miss. Any movie like this takes a huge risk in telling multiple stories because any audience is going to rank the subplots in order of preference. For me, I didn't care about Mary Catherine and Charlie. I found their story to be far too familiar and I never got into their New York vs. Los Angeles debate. (How many times have we heard this in the past?) The most interesting part of Happythankyoumoreplease is Annie's story and not just because she has a rare disease. OK, this is part of it, but she turns out to be the most well-rounded character in the film and her relationship with Sam #2 (as he's called in the movie) is very sweet. Despite the whole "holding a child against his will" issue, Sam is a rather mundane character and feels like sad-sack guys that we've seen in other movies.
My wife and I went through a phase where we watched How I Met Your Mother, and I always found Josh Radnor to be the weak link on that show (despite the fact that he's the main character), so I wasn't expecting much from his movie. What I found was a project which shows some promise. Radnor has created a movie which shows that he went for minimalism in some areas, but bit off more than he could chew in others. Some of the film falls very flat, but things certainly pick up in the last 15 minutes, when the meaning of the film's odd title becomes relevant and the movie delivers its message, which is a very positive one. It takes a lot for a "slice of life" movie to impress me and Happythankyou-moreplease missed the mark, but it made me curious to see if Radnor will spend more time behind the camera.
Happythankyoumoreplease annoys both me and spell-check on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc features an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing a small amount of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is OK, but some interior shots look a bit flat. The level of detail is acceptable, but nothing stellar. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The movie features several scenes on the busy New York streets and these some nice stereo effects which show good separation. These same scenes, along with Annie's party and the last scene, offer mild surround sound effects. I didn't note any overt subwoofer action.
The Happythankyoumoreplease Blu-ray Disc contains only a smattering of extras. "Happythankyoumoremusicplease - Featuring Jaymay" (7 minutes) is a brief featurette where Radnor talks about the musician Jaymay, whose music is featured in the film. We get comments from Jaymay who talks about how she became involved in the movie. The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 9 minutes. For once, a deleted scene that I was looking for is actually included, as we get some information on why Annie doesn't wear a wig. The final extra is the TRAILER for the movie.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2011.