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Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja. She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys, and who refuses to have sex with her because she "isn't particularly attractive" anymore. Whatever. That's life.
    But when "the perfect
    couple" moves in next door, Kaja struggles to keep her emotions in check. Not only do these successful, beautiful, exciting people sing in a choir; they have also adopted a child – from Ethiopia! These new neighbors open a new world to Kaja, with consequences for everyone involved. And when Christmas comes around, it becomes evident that nothing will ever be like before – even if Kaja tries her very best. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 17, 2011
    83
    Kittelsen is a funny, expansive actress, and director Anne Sewitsky manages the sad-comic tonal shifts with emotional accuracy.
  2. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Sep 14, 2011
    75
    The characters remain governed by what they've been told about themselves for years - that they're ugly, devious, mean, low-class, or silly - until a fresh set of eyes changes what they see in the mirror. Knowing this mutual moment of stark self-awareness is coming doesn't make its arrival any less powerful.
  3. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Oct 13, 2011
    75
    The curdled Norwegian comedy-drama Happy, Happy, which dissects a pair of poisoned marriages, is sometimes heavy-handed (like its title) but has much to recommend it.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 7, 2011
    63
    Happy, Happy has the makings of a Norwegian "Ice Storm," but it goes out with a whimper.
  5. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 13, 2011
    60
    Director Anne Sewitsky aims for quirky humanism along the lines of Finland's Aki Kaurismaki; she's helped along considerably by Kittelsen's sunny performance, though the film crosses over into Scandinavian kitsch with a series of country-swing interludes sung a capella by a male quartet.
  6. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 22, 2011
    50
    The movie attempts to both explain everything away and pat itself (and Norway) on the back once we see Noa watching President Obama deliver his Nobel Prize speech.
  7. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Sep 23, 2011
    38
    First-time director Anne Sewitsky may intend Happy, Happy as a Chekhovian chamber piece or romantic bagatelle, but her smugness about racism - and her glib symbolic resolution of the conflicts she raises - suggests an ambition that far outstrips her ability, at least for now.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    7
    There are four main characters in Happy, Happy because it is about two couples; however, one of them really shines through and becomes such a pleasure to watch that it really does not matter what happens with the plot or any of the other players, she is just stunning. I am talking about Agnes Kittelsen who plays Kaja. She is almost always smiling, even when there are situations when there is nothing to smile about. She exudes positive energy and cannot help it when her actions either makes someone else around her happy or rubs someone else the wrong way.

    Kaja is married to Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen) and they appear to live in the middle of nowhere Norway. They not only own their own house, but also the one next door which they rent out to people who are usually looking to get away from the city. A city couple from Denmark does exactly that when they abruptly shift from urban to rural. The new couple next door is Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen) and Elisabeth (Maibritt Saerens). Since there is not much else to do in the immediate locale, the two couples start sharing dinners together and playing games. These games lead to uncomfortable couple comparisons which is never a good thing. Comparing your relationship to someone elseâ
    Expand
  2. Sep 22, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The trailer makes the film look like a fun, sexual romp between two married Norwegian couples, but it's much sadder and more disturbing in reality. And the racist behavior of the one couple's son toward the other couple's black son is revolting. Sure, it's supposed to be "cute", but the fact that the parents didn't gain control of the situation feels like a tacit endorsement or a "boys will be boys" situation. Playing "Slave" just isn't all that acceptable to this film-goer. Expand

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