‘HappyThankYouMorePlease’: Generational Wisdom and the Art of Growing Up

Josh Radnor’s (How I Met Your Mother) 2010 dramedy HappyThankYouMorePlease is a lovable little indie film that tells the story of a group of New Yorkers struggling to survive the big city. The film tells the story of Sam (Radnor), while also spending time on his family and friends, peering into each of their lives as we learn about their various growing pains and struggles.

Sam is a late-twenty-something who finds an abandoned foster child on the subway. While not able to abandon the child himself, he takes the boy in, promising to find his parents later. Concurrently, he meets Mississippi (Kate Mara), a singer/waitress from (you guessed it) Missisippi who is looking for her big break and not a serious relationship. Sam’s cousin, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan), is dealing with the possibility of leaving home for L.A., while Sam’s best friend Annie (Malin Akerman), an Alopecia patient, struggles with love and allowing herself to be loved.

As each of their stories unfold, the film’s true theme becomes exposed: walking the tightrope between your 20’s and the rest of your life can be a bitch. Although the film is only Radnor’s writing and directing debut, he does an exceptional job at creating realistic characters that are extremely relatable. The relationship between Sam and Annie is a special one that is a treat to watch (partly due to the humble performances of Akerman and Radnor), though arguably, Annie’s tale becomes slightly more enthralling by film’s end.

The movie’s title comes from a conversation Annie partakes in with Tony Hale’s Sam #2 (Hi, Buster Bluthe!):

Annie: About a year ago, I was in this cab, and the cab driver – this Indian guy, started telling me…he started telling me all sorts of stuff. He was just looking at me in the rear view mirror and he said, Bliss. Bliss is your birthright. And I was like, Uh…45th and Madison? And he said, You have great potential in this lifetime. The key to your life is gratitude. You do not give enough thanks. And I said, Well, how do I do that? And he said, Simple! Say ‘thank you.’ And I said, Well, when? And he said, All the time! Like now. And he said that after I say ‘thank you,’ I should say, ‘more please’
Sam #2: Wait… thank you, more please?
Annie: Yeah! That with gratitude, the universe is eternally abundant. So, I’ve been giving gratitude a shot.
Thank you more please. Thank you more please. Thank you more please.
Although at times, it was hard to ignore the fact that Radnor plays Ted Moseby on one of today’s biggest and brightest sitcoms (the fact that the setting was also New York City added to the difficulty), but for his first effort, Radnor exuded a simple, yet sweet film full of great characters, and proffers some wisdom about what it takes to finally grow up. I look forward to his future efforts (2012’s Liberal Arts). So thank you, Radnor. And more please.