Finally! A relationship drama for my generation—the artsy, white, urban, financially stable people in their mid-to-late-20s generation! Our demographic has been shut out of Hollywood for TOO LONG, and that one guy from How I Met Your Mother isn't going to take it anymore. The guy's name is Josh Radnor, he is deeply appealing in the five-o'clock-shadow region, and with Happythankyoumoreplease (which Radnor wrote, directed, and stars in), he's determined to catalog the SHIT out of the Modern Twentysomething Condition. Um... finally?
Radnor's character is named Sam, and Sam is a writer, which means that he is tired and has a crush on a girl with a novelty name. Sam's best friend is Annie (Malin Akerman), who has alopecia, which means she is bald and wise. Annie is being pursued by a lawyer (Tony Hale—that's Buster Bluth, y'all!), who uses his lawyer skills to find bald Annie GUILTY of being afraid of love (her sentence: making oooooout! Also Siberian prison camp). Sam's cousin Mary Catherine has a boyfriend (Pablo Schreiber—that's Nick Sobotka from The Wire, y'all!) who wants to move to Los Angeles, but Mary Catherine does not want to move to Los Angeles because she is annoying. Also there is a small black child who represents The Real World I think. Everything has a happy ending.
There's nothing egregiously wrong with Happythankyoumoreplease beyond an abundance of schmaltz and a faint reek of pointlessness. Radnor, as far as I can tell, is undislikable (although I have never seen an episode of How I Met Your Mother), and his script has enough medium-funny lines to keep the film moving. (While chasing the aforementioned small black child, Sam calls out, "Hey, can we stop running? I'm almost 30.") But the film's MISSION STATEMENT—which is to define a zeitgeist or chronicle a moment or, if I may get all cynical upon you, gather the moviegoing dollars of white people in their 20s—is so glaring and transparent that my eyes rolled and rolled and rolled away and now I cannot find them and I have to use these Skittles from the floor of the theater instead (sticky!).
Early in the film, by way of encouragement and without nearly enough irony, Annie tells Sam, "You're the voice of our generation!" It's hard to escape the fact that Radnor plays Sam, and Radnor wrote the script, so it's really Radnor telling Radnor that he's the voice of our generation, which is exactly what Happythankyoumoreplease so desperately thinks it is. And how exactly does Radnor sum up "our generation"? Well, it has something to do with the no-caps twee-ness of the title, with overblown sincerity, and with the ultimate overthrow of this idea: "I'm so sick of optimism. It's fucking exhausting." Earnestness is the new cynicism. Make a note of it.