Tonight I saw Happy-Go-Lucky, starring Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan.
I hate it when critics oversell a film.
Going into this one, I was excited about the prospect of being uplifted by a refreshing character that always saw the glass as half full. Instead I was met with an incredibly annoying leading lady and a string of scenes that don't really mesh, but are forcibly woven together like an unfinished quilt.
Poppy (Hawkins) is an elementary schoolteacher that makes it her life's mission to cheer other people up. Or, she's just goofy. It's hard to tell in the piece-y scenes that have her alternately bouncing on trampolines, falling in love, flamenco dancing and attempting to help a troubled student. Each bit could have merit if it were allowed the chance to develop, but none of them really do.
None, except for the series of bits about her taking driving lessons. Yes—she's supposed to be a thirtysomething in a big city in England, yet she doesn't know how to drive. Suspending that disbelief, she hires a company to teach her how and gets assigned the Worst Driver on Planet Earth (Marsan). Not only is he surly to her, he's dangerous on the road and many of their scenes are borderline disturbing (and if they're not disturbing, they're excruciatingly irritating).
Is the film 100% bad? No. There are delightful (and more realistic scenes) with Poppy's sister, roommate and other friends that make you feel that you're watching a Cyndi Lauper video (in a good way), and the love story near the end is actually somewhat sweet.
I just found it hard to root for someone I wouldn't be able to be in the same room with if she were real.