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Happy, Happy Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Norwegian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 88 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 24, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

[amazon-product]B005X7HA76[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Happy, Happy - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

Purchase Happy, Happy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:1.5/5]

From director Anne Sewitsky comes this latest film delving into the topic of marital infidelity. An area already crowded with far too many entries, it takes something extraordinary to stand out from the pack, and as hard as Sewitsky’s Happy, Happy (Sykt lykkelig) may try, it never actually does.

A haphazardly scripted film from the very beginning, Happy, Happy focuses in on the dynamic between two married couples in a rural Norwegian town. Kaja (Agnes Kittelsen) and her husband Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen) have rented their guest home to a couple from the big city, Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen) and Elisabeth (Maibritt Saerens), who arrive with their adopted black son Noa (Ram Shihab Ebedy). We don’t know why Sigve and Elisabeth have given up the city life for life in the country, but as the parents get acquainted, the children, Noa, and Kaja and Eirik’s son, Theodor (Oskar Hernæs Brandsø), both appearing to be of pre-teen age around seven or eight, strike up a friendship that drags them into their own separate little world; more on that later.

It’s obvious from the beginning that Kaja is lonely, desperate for attention and to be friends with Elisabeth, who begrudgingly offers her friendship, for lack of anyone else being around, one assumes. On the outside, to Kaja, Sigve and Elisabeth seem like the perfect, loving couple who are friendly with one another, loving, and enjoy each other’s company. Meanwhile, Kaja has been having marital problems, unable to get Eirik to desire her sexually for over a year.

In private, however, we see that the relationship between Sigve and Elisabeth is rather cool, the two are obviously having their own issues. But what? Well, on a dinner at their house with Kaja and husband, a couple’s game leads to a tearful incident that sends Kaja away to gather herself, where Sigve tracks her down and confesses that Elisabeth cheated on him. Kaja takes this as her opportunity to jump him and the two are soon in a heated affair, which eventually leads to both couples swapping mates. It doesn’t work out too well for Elisabeth and Eirik, however, because, well, Eirik has a secret that only a blind man couldn’t spot well into this film.

Throughout the film, Sewitsky intercuts dubbed performances of a male vocal group singing American spirituals that are meant as sardonic commentary on the scenes. For example, a heated love scene is followed by “(I’m So Glad I Got) Good Religion.” There’s nothing particularly original about this sort of thing, and for the purposes of Happy, Happy, it only interrupts the already slight timeline.

Back to the two kids and the most puzzling sub-plot of this whole film. The story of the interaction between these two kids is not only perplexing, but really has nothing to do with main theme of this film whatsoever, which is an exploration of marital infidelity. From early on when meeting the shy Noa, Theodor thrusts a book about slavery on him and proclaims “In the old days, I would be your master and you would be my slave” then proceeds to mock Noa’s African ancestry and tease him with various and humiliating methods of slave “play,” pretending to whip him, making him work in the fields, not allowing him to eat at the table and so on. This all goes on under the noses of the parents who are caught up in their own world. Towards the end of the film, after Elisabeth shoves Theodor’s face in his plate of food, we see Noa viewing Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, a scene which is almost as confusing as the whole subplot involving these two kids. It’s utter nonsense, rather offensive, and not at all funny.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

For a film reportedly captured in 16mm, Happy, Happy actually looks rather good in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement from Magnolia Home Entertainment. At times, it looks almost like a 35mm production. Honestly, however, a lot of this film does not lend itself to a sparkling HD image, being a very subdued, wintry palette, with lots of snow. Still, there’s a nice film-like appearance even as, when given the opportunity in some of the darker indoor scenes, shadows tend toward a greyish look. There is decent extension, however, and overall detail is quite good.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Norwegian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is straightforward, with little activity in the surround channels, but the front-heavy mix offers clean dialogue and punchy lows during the numerous musical interludes.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

The U.S. Trailer in HD and International Trailer in SD are the only on-disc extras included with Happy, Happy.

The supplements:

  • U.S. Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • International Trailer (1.85:1; SD)
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

A strong performance by Agnes Kittelsen is overshadowed by a poorly scripted and directed comedy/drama that isn’t very insightful or even particularly funny, and because of extraneous subplots that are way out of line and pointless, the film becomes more and more perplexing along the way. If you want to see a really funny sex comedy, then check out A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy or something along those lines. Gives this one a definite pass.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005X7HA76[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Happy, Happy - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

Purchase Happy, Happy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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