"happythankyoumoreplease" was probably destined to be a Sundance Film Festival crowd pleaser, and it certainly did the trick. Its debut Friday night at the cavernous Eccles Theatre received rapturous applause and, even despite an 8:30am second screening at the large Racquet Club, the theater was full and the claps and cheers were thunderous and heartfelt.
"Thanks everybody for coming out so early, I'm not really a morning person myself," said director/screenwriter Josh Radnor who also stars in the film as Sam, a sensitive creative type who finds a small boy separated from his guardian on the New York subway. He and his posse of New York 20-something hipsters experience the "growing pains" of love and friendship. Sam's interest in a waitress/aspriring singer is complicated by the fact that, after several days, he still has the young boy, Rasheen (played by a delightful Michael Algieri) several days after finding him on the subway. Self-image and fear of commitment are portrayed with humor that had the audience laughing out loud throughout the 100 minute film, with a slick script that definitely charmed the crowds here in Park City.
"I realized I'd direct the film after I had done readings of the script with actors," said a more awake Josh Radnor post-screening and after some coffee. "I realized through these readings that I was the gatekeeper of the story." Radnor conveyed a similar endearing quirkiness during the Q&A that was reminiscent of his character Sam, soliciting some "awww"s from a group of females sitting behind me, and Radnor, too, seemed enamored with Sam.
"The one thing I like about Sam is that he's a good guy despite himself," he said. "He's just a good guy." Radnor said that themes and characters in the film had parallels with his life, but the plot was created.
"I have to say, this was my favorite character of all time," said actress Malin Akerman who plays a high spirited woman whose body issues (she lacks hair) and relationship trauma causes commitment issues. "She's such a fascinating person. I went to lunch one day without my eyebrows and I was treated differently. But that's what is interesting about this job: you get to fantasize."
As for Radnor, he appeared to relish the feedback as anyone would at Sundance following a great screening, and he credited his actors for the film's great play. "I'm in love with this cast, they really threw themselves into it."