There would seem to be several causes for knee-jerk appraisals of Happythankyoumoreplease: That title? Involuntary spasms. Also, it’s a film written, directed, and starring Josh Radnor, ostensible lead (though arguably least interesting) character of How I Met Your Mother, who seems to be following in the footsteps of fellow sitcom actor Zach Braff by crafting his own winsome, mellow-indie-rock-soundtracked ode to how it’s difficult to be in your 20s and, like, figure stuff out.
And yet, the film won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance, and critics really warmed to it—such as our own Noel Murray, who ended up comparing it to a “late ’80s / early ’90s Woody Allen film” and praising it for its admirable lack of rote quirkiness, even if it does find Radnor’s struggling writer adopting an adorable foster child he finds on the subway and talking endlessly about love and happiness with his Alopecia-afflicted friend (Malin Akerman, whose running monologue on this trailer is another giant negative). Meanwhile, she’s pursued by a geeky co-worker (Tony Hale) and he chases after an emotionally guarded nightclub singer (Kate Mara), while for good indie-movie measure, Radnor throws in tangential hipster couple Zoe Kazan and Pablo Schreiber and asks us to care about their angsty problems too.
But still—but still... People seemed to like it at Sundance, and this preview is probably unflatteringly focused on all of the film’s most precious moments, like a scene where Akerman tells Radnor’s character to “go get yourself loved” or one where Adorable Subway Moppet tells Radnor, “You’re my best friend.” (Involuntary spasms again.) Anyway, given the gulf between the actual early critical reception and the way Happythankyoumoreplease comes off in this, it’ll be interesting to see if this overly sentimental approach ends up turning off completely the audience that might otherwise embrace it.