At The Theater 2011 #1: Happythankyoumoreplease

I saw 52 movies in the movie theater last year and I’m just getting to the movie theater for the first time this year! How is that possible? This has been a seriously long break from the theater. Except for taking in The Fighter for a second time (because The Fighter is that good), catching a free screening of Happythankyoumoreplease at the Angelika was the first time I’ve been to a movie theater since seeing Tangled on New Year’s Eve. That’s 62 days without seeing a new movie! The only good movies out at the beginning of this year seemed to be the best of last year, so it doesn’t look like I’ve missed much.
The poster and trailer for Happythankyoumoreplease couldn’t have tried harder to get me to think this movie should have been titled Garden State 2: Across the Hudson. Written, directed and starring the lead actor of a popular sitcom? Check. A soundtrack heavy on indie music? Check. A protagonist that needs to find his way in the world as well as his true love? Double check.

But watching Happythankyoumoreplease, it becomes apparent that the similarities between it and Garden State are mostly superficial. This news will either be a cause of joy or sorrow for you, depending on your view of Garden State, a movie which I’ve noticed people tend to have only extreme feelings about.

I enjoyed Happythankyoumoreplease, but my main complaint about the movie is that I felt that it would have worked better if it wasn’t an ensemble piece. The most interesting storylines in Happythankyoumoreplease are Josh Radnor’s character Sam’s relationships with prospective love Mississippi (Kate Mara) and with pseudo-little brother Rasheen (Michael Algieri). If these are the A and B stories of the movie, then I would call the Annie (Malin Akerman) and Sam #2 (Tony Hale) love story the C storyline and the Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and Carlos (Pablo Schreiber) story the D story.

Malin Akerman proves she doesn’t need hair to be pretty.

Normally, I’m fine with ensemble movies and TV shows about three couples (Traffic Light and Perfect Couples are two of my favorite new shows), but I think the addition of the fourth story on top of them is just too much. Out of the four storylines, I thought that the Mary Catherine/Carlos story could have been cut. At the same time, I thought Zoe Kazan was great in this movie, and some of the best dialogue appears here, specifically Mary Catherine’s and Carlos’s New York vs. Los Angeles argument.

During that NY vs. LA argument and at some other points in Happythankyoumoreplease, I couldn’t help but think that the characters were soliloquizing Josh Radnor’s thoughts on life. But without access to Josh Radnor, that’s just theorizing on my part.

But we’ve all heard the NY vs. LA argument before, either in movies or conversations with our friends, so dropping that in favor of giving more time to the movie’s most unique story, Sam’s accidental and illegal adoption of Rasheen.

LA’s trump card: The Double-Double.

Another argument to drop the D storyline is that it costs Kate Mara screen time, who I thought was the best part of Happythankyoumoreplease. She played her character Mississippi with a combination of hope and world weariness that I’ve seen all too often among anyone in New York with dreams for themselves that haven’t been delivered yet.


Josh Radnor’s sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, is often shortened to HIMYM in print and I have a feeling that he’s going to become part of another acronym with HTYMP. Let’s end this era of initializing titles. When you buy a ticket for Happythankyoumoreplease, be sure to say the whole title, and say it without any spaces between the words as author Josh Radnor intended.