By Gary Murray
Starring Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Tony Hale and Pablo Schreiber
Written and directed by Josh Radnor
Running time 105 min
MPAA Rating R (just language)
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Josh Radnor is best known for being on How I Met Your Mother on CBS. Like every other person in television, he wants to be in the movies. His writing/directing/acting lead is the NYC centered dramedy called happythankyoumoreplease.
The story starts with a writer Sam Wexler (Josh Radnor) who is in a rush to make a meeting with a publisher. He crafts short stories and articles but has his first novel on the block. On the subway train, he notices a young boy who didn't get off on the correct stop. He tries to take the kid to the police but the boy refuses. Having no choice, Sam takes the boy to the meeting. This leads to the boy staying the night.
Eventually we learn that the boy is named Rasheen and that he has no family and lives in foster care. He doesn't even know how old he is or when is his birthday. This opens up Sam's world, which includes his best friend Annie (Malin Akerman) who has an auto-immune disorder which renders her bald. There is also his relative Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber). He has the LA bug and she has a love for the Big Apple.
Sam 'cute meets' Mississippi (Kate Mara) a waitress/singer trying to get her big break on the Great White Way. She has little trust in men, always falling for the wrong guy. Sam is very relationship phobic. She also thinks it is weird for young Rasheen to be staying in Sam's apartment. Sam makes an agreement with Mississippi for them to have a three-day stand, basically playing house to get to know each other.
Annie has complications in her world, fighting a disease and fighting the advances of a lawyer Sam #2 (Tony Hale). He always comes to Annie's desk, just to talk and brighten her day. Eventually, she agrees to go on a date with him. The title comes from a story she tells of an Indian cab driver who tells her that when you are given something that makes you happy, you should say thank you/ more please.
The story of happythankyoumoreplease is about how all these different people find their own family units. Some of it feels fresh and some parts come from cliche hell.
Josh Radnor makes Sam just another writer, navel gazing while pondering life. Annie calls him "the voice of your generation" but one never sees the fruits of the labor of writing. Out of the three roles Josh takes in the production, the screenwriter is the weakest element. He finds a great line here and there, culls a stunning bit but never wraps up the exercise in any new or interesting way. As an actor and director he fares much better, giving the story simple framing and low key direction. This is a nice opening in what will hopefully a long career.
The females of the cast overshadow the males in almost every scene. Zoe Kazan brings a wide-eyed innocence to what could have been a static role. She has such a winning smile to the performance, a woman who loves her city as much as she loves her man. She sees the potential in everyone. The same could be said of Malin Akerman and her reading of Annie. Playing a character with a disease usually comes across as a downer but Malin gives a positive spin, even when she's not so sure of how things will work. By far the biggest find of the movie is Kate Mara as Mississippi. She takes the girlfriend role and turns it into a balanced solid reading. When we finally get to hear her sing, it is worth the wait.
The pace of happythankyoumoreplease is slow and steady, more lazy than methodical. It doesn't have a strong first act nor any strong resolutions. It just goes, not knowing where it is going. happythankyoumoreplease is part comedy and part drama, much like life. It runs more like an R rated, made for TV movie. Without all the F-bombs, it would have been rated a solid PG. Not a great film but a solid first step in making motion pictures.