Parents' Guide to

Welcome to Happiness

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Somewhat likable but ultimately uneven comedy-fantasy.

Movie PG-13 2016 108 minutes
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It's hard to hate Oliver Thompson's debut feature; it's a truly heartfelt effort, but it's also not very good. Welcome to Happiness is an arrhythmic mess of ideas and scenes, sabotaged by a bad ending. The movie has an overwhelmingly positive attitude, and it might make viewers feel good about how "everything happens for a reason." But that's also the kind of positive attitude that can quickly grow annoying, like an over-eager puppy.

In a small role, Keegan-Michael Key has one or two funny moments, but Nick Offerman, also in a small role, seems wrongly cast. Scenes with minor characters, like the sad baseball card collector (Josh Brener) and the suicidal artist (Brendan Sexton III), seem dropped in almost at random, with no story flow. Likewise, most of the main plot threads seem to either stall or lurch ahead, and mediocre pop tunes are mixed in too loudly and too often. And the ending -- which feels like it's out of a Renaissance Faire -- just makes you want to scream.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 20, 2016
  • On DVD or streaming: May 16, 2017
  • Cast: Kyle Gallner, Olivia Thirlby, Nick Offerman
  • Director: Oliver Thompson
  • Inclusion Information: Bisexual actors
  • Studio: FilmBuff
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 108 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic elements including some disturbing images, and brief sexuality
  • Last updated: January 15, 2023

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