Cry Funny Happy

"Good"

Cry Funny Happy Review


For his feature debut, director Sam Neave takes the filmmaking approach of Mike Leigh, peppers it with a dash of John Cassavetes, mixes in six characters of varying tics and troubles, and gets a boiling pot of humor, reality and tasty conflict.

Cry Funny Happy, a 2003 Sundance feature and a recent entry in the 2003 Independent Film Festival of Boston, displays Neave's deft feel for both the power and idiocy of human conversation. However, he's not interested in the witty, refined banter of say, a Woody Allen film - instead, Neave gives us a voyeuristic look at the nitty gritty, the stuff people say when they don't have a smart script to fall back on.

It's Wes's (Michael Traynor) 30th birthday. His new live-in girlfriend, Sophie (Kellee Stewart), is attempting to organize a party for the occasion, but the wisecracking Wes is more interested in goofing around and trying to get Sophie into bed for a few minutes. The couple have invited Wes's longtime friends, each with his own significant (or not-so-significant) other. With a myriad of relationship snags and dangers waiting to surface, the celebration - just like the party in Thomas Vinterberg's dogme film, The Celebration (1998) - takes some interesting turns as the night progresses.

In creating the party sequences, Neave succeeds at one of the toughest directorial tasks - building a party out of thin air, and making it seem absolutely real. The evolution of Wes's party will appear uncomfortably familiar to many moviegoers, as the bash participants display truthful doses of awkwardness, ebullience and sheer frustration.

It's a shame that the raw incendiary energy of the party stands so far above the film's earlier setup and introduction. Neave begins the film not with Wes, but with Lenny (Tif Luckenbill), a guy on a mad dash to the airport to pick up his girlfriend, Ally (Amy Redford), an architect who's been away for nine months. In this quizzical mini-journey, Neave's out-of-focus camerawork and stilted "indie" feel don't accurately represent the better film yet to come.

The real accomplishments in Cry Funny Happy are the actors' abilities to push and pull words out of one another in conversations filled with missteps, loose ends, and unexplained backstory. The genesis of this was Neave's Leigh-like strategy of working with the actors for months before filming began, organizing extensive character creation and rehearsal - and then letting his actors ad-lib each situation, with the camera acting as just another partygoer.

The result is a talented cast of actors - the tension between Luckenbill and Redford is particularly satisfying - delving into the sharp intricacies of friendships and other connections. While that may be a simple concept compared to that of most big screen features, it has a level of complexity many "relationship" films never touch. With a tighter focus (both literally and figuratively), Sam Neave may become quite polished at telling this type of messy, personal story.

Reviewed at the 2003 Independent Film Festival of Boston.



Cry Funny Happy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 18th January 2003

Distributed by: FilmBuff

Production compaines: The 7th Floor

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 4.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lenny, as Naima, as Ally, as Dylan, as Sophie, as Wes, as Rex, James Lavino as Man on the Street, Luis Armada as Man in the Park, Augie Healy as Man with Car

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

Advertisement
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.