You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Pic gives new meaning to self-indulgence and self-infatuation.

Annie - Malin Akerman Sam No. 2 - Tony Hale Mary Catherine - Zoe Kazan Mississippi - Kate Mara Sam Wexler - Josh Radnor Ira - Peter Scanavino Charlie - Pablo Schreiber Rasheen - Michael Algieri

Like a sitcom, but without the burning narrative urgency, “Happythankyoumoreplease” is the epitome of “indie,” and not in a good way. A multi-character dramedy about delicate, gifted young urbanites, capable of sparkling repartee but unable to go on a date without assuming a figurative fetal position, the pic gives new meaning to self-indulgence and self-infatuation, all to the lonesome-train-whistle-evoking songs of a sensitive but never less-than-ironic alternative singer-songwriter. Given the presence of Josh Radnor (“How I Met Your Mother”), it will likely draw some niche biz, mostly from the kinds of auds drawn to Broadway theater to see TV stars.

Radnor plays Sam, an aspiring novelist in an imaginary place called New York where the print medium is still something young people aspire to, when they’re not trying to extricate themselves from troublesome one-night stands (which is how we meet Sam). Late to a meeting with a publisher (a cameo by Richard Jenkins), he watches as a young boy (Michael Algieri) is abandoned on a subway train, and then virtually adopts the kid, named Rasheen, opening himself up to charges of kidnapping and child endangerment but providing himself with a comic foil for the rest of the movie. The tradeoff must have seemed worth it

Meanwhile, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) are having a crisis (what a surprise) about which coast to live on; Charlie has a possible business deal brewing in Los Angeles, which Mary Catherine views as a soul-crushing hellhole. Audiences will be taking sides depending on what coast they don’t live on.

Meanwhile, Sam’s best friend, Annie (Malin Akerman, giving a real performance) is in what seems to be a perpetual state of discontent about work, love and the condition (alopecia) that has deprived her of body hair. Her head wrapped in color scarves and self-defeating ideas, she’s being wooed at work by the too-nice-for-words Sam No. 2 (Tony Hale) and in her bedroom by the rather useless Ira (Peter Scanavino), whom Annie, defying every law of God and man, finds irresistible.

Meanwhile, Sam has taken a shine to Mississippi (Kate Mara), a bartender who wants to be cabaret singer (another cultural throwback, which may indicate how long Radnor’s script has been in development). Mississippi says yes when Sam asks her to move in with him for three days, thus avoiding the one-night stand phenomenon but giving her every reason to wonder why there’s a mixed-race 8-year-old sleeping on the couch. Luckily for the plot flow, as it were, she doesn’t ask early enough to send “Happythankyoumoreplease” (a convolution derived from a conversation Annie once had with an Indian cab driver) off its designated track.

With the exception of Akerman’s Annie, the characters are uniformly annoying, their stories insubstantial and the tone one of smug contentment. Production values are grade-A.


Production: A Paper Street Films presentation. Produced by Jesse Hara, Austin Stark. Chris Papavasiliou, Benji Kohn. Executive producers, Bingo Gubelmann, Peter Sterling, Glenn Williamson. Directed, written by Josh Radnor.

Crew: Camera (color), Seamus Tierney; editor, Michael R. Miller; music, Jaymay; music supervisor, Andy Gowen; production designer, Jade Healy; art director, Chris Trujillo; sound, Michael Sterkin; associate producer, Brian Schornak; assistant director, Michel Meador; casting, Jessica Kelly, Suzanne Smith. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 22, 2010. Running time: 100 MIN.

Cast: Annie - Malin Akerman Sam No. 2 - Tony Hale Mary Catherine - Zoe Kazan Mississippi - Kate Mara Sam Wexler - Josh Radnor Ira - Peter Scanavino Charlie - Pablo Schreiber Rasheen - Michael AlgieriWith: Richard Jenkins.

More Scene

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

  • Donald Trump Chucky Childs Play

    'Child's Play' Stars on New Chucky's 'Creepy' Resemblance to Donald Trump

    At Wednesday night’s world premiere of the “Child’s Play” remake, it was obvious that evil doll Chucky — the star of seven films over three decades — had a little work done. And now he bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. “Oh, you caught that?” Aubrey Plaza asked Variety on the black carpet outside [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content