Happy, No Lucky.

The new Mike Leigh film Happy Go Lucky was at my local independent film center this weekend.  I was eager to see it after seeing the headlines advertising it as a the feel good movie of the season and that you’d leave up and energized.  The promise was a cheap thrill considering the $6 it cost.

But I have to say I did not leave happy, up, or smiling; or any other emotion other than confused.  Wondering why I had spent the money.

This film, for me, falls into that category of movies that have a way of purposely insulting you by making you feel left out if you re not crazy for their genius or you don’t get the nebulous vignettes they’re stringing together.  I would have to mention films such as “Eagle Vs. Shark” in the same sentence.

Perhaps I don’t want to get it if it means sitting through 2 hours of non-sequiters waiting and wondering if something is going to happen.  I still want to be entertained.  Sure, I want to be challenged and caused to question and not force-fed everything.  But if I wanted to watch a group of people get drunk and sit around laughing at seemingly inside jokes that the audience isn’t allowed in on, I’d hang out at the local college dorm on Friday nights.

I loved Vera Drake.  At least it took me somewhere.  I empathized with her.  Felt her pain.  Saw her good.  Poppy (Happy Go Lucky) just eventually annoyed me.  Her life and times were apathetically, superficially and pointlessly giddy often reaching for nowhere.  A feeling I found unsettling.

I don’t consider myself an unsophisitcated dud or movie moron.  Hard to grasp character studies fascinate me.  You can call me a lover of sap, but I’ll take any mainstream canned film that Hollywood puts out over Happy Go Lucky.  At least I know I’m being pandered to–and I’m ok with that.


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