HAPPY IS NOT HARD TO BE Image

HAPPY IS NOT HARD TO BE

By admin | September 7, 2005

Writer/director Cecil Castellucci (who also plays Christine) has packed a lot into her film. In fact, she’s packed too much. It’s filled with people who can’t find happiness, who are happy, who fear the future, who cling to the past, who don’t seem to care, who care too much. It’s a bit overwhelming, and it doesn’t help that several of the main characters display all the disgusting traits that seem to plague pampered adults. When you have one character like that, it isn’t a problem. Populate an entire film with them, however, and it becomes painful to watch.

The story revolves around a core group of friends and family who are connected in one way or another. There’s Nikki (Royana Black), the daughter of “America’s authority on happiness” (Kathleen Coyne). Nikki isn’t happy (big surprise) because she refuses to let herself be and projects her misery onto others. Her sister, Christine, seems happy, but according to Nikki, really isn’t. And then her brother, Flint (L. Flint Esquerra), a director of experimental plays, only thinks he’s happy. Of course, Nikki may not be familiar with personal happiness, but she knows enough about it to know nobody else has it. The other characters, while a bit more likable, aren’t much better.

These are people who have decent lives, but refuse to understand that for whatever mixed up reason. Oddly enough, it takes an Easter egg hunt (you decide on the symbolism here) to really make these folks see the beauty in their existence. Unions are made, marriages are sealed, and happiness, like a brightly colored egg, is found in the weeds.

The movie’s message is an important one. Unfortunately, the film has so many characters who are oblivious to the simple facts of life that it is a chore to sit through its eighty-eight minute running time. You want to grab these idiots by their throats and rattle some sense into them. One or two characters would’ve been fine. Over a half dozen spoiled morons? Not fun by any stretch of the imagination.

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