I caught the premiere of Happy at the Sundance Film Festival. I'm a huge fan of Josh Radnor (best known for his role as Ted Mosby on the CBS series, How I Met Your Mother), but remained a little skeptical going in since this is a first-time film for him. I was pleasantly surprised! This movie is so charming; I couldn't help falling in love with all of the characters. I was especially impressed by Tony Hale's endearing performance as Sam #2, who tries to win the affection of Annie (Malin Akerman), a woman with Alopecia who struggles with the idea of someone being so smitten with her. Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) are absolutely adorable together and have an unbeatable on screen chemistry. They are at a crossroads in their relationship as Charlie tries to sell Mary Catherine on the idea of leaving their home in New York to move to L.A.
Sam (Josh Radnor), Mississippi (Kate Mara) and Rasheen (Michael Algieri) round out the cast of characters. Mississippi is a cabaret singer who catches the eye of Sam early in the film and while their hesitation to throw caution to the wind and go for each other is annoying at times, it brings a much-needed realism over romance approach to their relationship.
Rasheen was an audience favorite and his role adds a unique piece to this puzzle, playing a foster boy separated from his family on the subway who is rescued and looked after by Sam. It is truly an enjoyable highlight of the film to watch their interactions as they grow from perfect strangers to close friends. An amazing dynamic is brought to the script through their friendship, but not without Rasheen's life before Sam looming in the distance.
If this movie is any indication of Josh's talent as a writer, I can't wait to see more of his work. It contains all of the elements of a romantic comedy, yet manages to completely avoid the clichés and predictability that are typically found in this genre. It is clever, heartwarming, hopeful and hilarious. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes the big hit of Sundance 2010. Congratulations to Josh and everyone behind this film!