Languishing on a shelf since its premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor’s debut feature is an instantly forgettable 20-something romantic comedy in the wannabe Woody Allen mold. It’s the kind of generic indie we see dozens of times each year, cross-cutting between three couples with middling relationship problems and precious little at stake in an anachronistically affordable Manhattan.
Radnor headlines as a struggling short-story writer, who predictably turns out to be just like every other archetypal boozy chick-magnet that actor-turned-filmmakers typically pen for themselves to play. A commitment-phobe prone to one-night-stands, he swoons at first sight for Kate Mara’s waitress, cloyingly named Mississippi. Followed home one day on the subway by terse, orphaned street urchin (Michael Aligeri), Radnor’s spoiled, pontificating would-be novelist takes a couple of tentative steps toward adulthood after taking in the child and using him as a prop to impress his latest target.
Across town, Radnor’s best friend (Malin Akerman) suffers from alopecia for no discernible reason other than to show off the fact that the actress was willing to shave her head for the role. She endures a couple awkward dates with a co-worker (Arrested Development’s Tony Hale) in a weird, borderline creepy storyline about how sometimes the best romantic option might just be learning how to settle for your stalker.
Competently photographed in widescreen, Happythankyoumoreplease is at best polished and pleasant, running terribly familiar riffs on material that was already stale when Edward Burns was rehashing it 15 years ago.
Lacking a fresh sensibility or any hint of an edge, Radnor dutifully unfurls the indie-rock montage sequences, wrapping up all his storylines with neat, predictable little bows and not even the slightest acknowledgement of a world outside these beautiful people’s solipsistic navel-gazing.