DVD: happythankyoumoreplease

Photo: Paper Street Films

BY: Ava Baccari

Starring Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara. Directed by Josh Radnor. 100 minutes

Warning: there’s a Josh Radnor film circulating on DVD (it could be in a Blockbuster near you!) trying to pass itself off as many things it’s not, mainly indie, funny, sensible, or written/directed by and starring Zach Braff.

Let’s start with why it’s not indie. Radnor, more widely recognized as the bumbling architect (and the body to Bob Saget’s ominous narration) on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, makes his writing and directorial debut with happythankyoumoreplease. A struggling writer looking for love but not really—um, your populism is showing—Sam is trapped in that familiar, frustrating threshold between growing up (shaving, getting a real job) and landing a seven-year-old child to bring to fabulous, age-inappropriate parties and nurture a budding artistic talent. I use the term “landing” loosely. On his way to what is deemed to be The Most Important Meeting of Your Career meeting—wear a tie! Tuck your shirt in!—Sam offers to help a child who becomes separated from his family.

No time to call authorities—he’s late for the Important Meeting—Sam drags the kid along. After learning his name is Rasheen (Michael Algieri) and that he doesn’t like his foster family, Sam decides that the kid can sleep on his couch because he’s great for scoring chicks and likes to draw pictures of the two of them together (awww). This goes on for days until even Sam’s BFF Annie (Malin Akerman), possesses a sublime understanding of life because she has Alopecia Universalis, which means she has no hair and is a beautiful hippie who speaks Gandhi (hence the title) and wears rainbow-coloured headbands, thinks this is odd.

See what I mean about not being sensible? When Hugh Grant befriends the obnoxious, too-smart-for-his-own-good pre-teen in the supremely superior About A Boy, their relationship is fostered on a mutual need for friendship, Grant’s seething incapability of acting his age, and the fact the poor kid wanted a wealthy bloke to shack up with his suicidal mother.

Nonetheless, that film was touching, believable and wrought with the acute sense of the humanity that flourishes in incongruous friendships. What Radnor delivers is just creepy. Women—OK, just one—Mississippi (Kate Mara), a struggling singer, mysteriously swoons for Sam’s asshole wit and unexplained child (daddy issues?) and they feign the perilous journey of falling in love.

Toss in the phantom problems of their insignificant circle of twentysomethings and you have an aimless, shell of a reel not even remotely similar to the quirky, emotional gem that was 2004’s Garden State. See, not Zach Braff. And most definitely not funny.

Consider yourself warned. C-

EXTRAS: happythankyoumoremusicplease (7 minutes), five deleted scenes, movie trailer

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