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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Review: Happy Times

Director: Michael Mayer

Screenplay: Guy Aya y Michael Mayer

Year: 2021

Family dinners can be unbearable if you have that uncle, cousin, or other annoying family members that always seems to have the perfect recipe for ruining a good time. If you add a splash of alcohol to the mix, things can go out of control. But, how much things have to go out of control to ruin what should otherwise be a happy time and turn it into torture?

An Israeli-American family gets together in the sumptuous mansion of one of them to enjoy a nice dinner. The tension among some of the family members starts slowly increasing until it ends up in violence. What should have been a happy family gathering soon turns into a bloodbath. 

The director Michael Mayer (“Out in the Dark”) presents a movie he co-writes with Guy Ayal, and that can easily be divided into two well-defined parts. The first part is where we meet the characters and where they lay the foundation for what will unfold in the second one. The second part is where the shit hits the fan and unleashes total chaos. 

The first part is a test of patience for the viewer. It is here where the foundation is set for what will happen later, but it does so slowly and boringly. For most of the time, we are getting to know the characters by their interactions with one another, and none of them are interesting. The most catching part is the cultural side, which ends up being important for the plot development. What comes off of this section is the actor’s great performances, which holds it together. 

Once the first act of violence occurs and blood starts flowing, the fun factor increases exponentially. Here is where the viewer’s patience is rewarded, as the writers do a good job of giving continuity to the situations they establish during the first part. It is worth mentioning that once the violence starts, it doesn’t stop, and they don’t shy away from the blood. 

“Happy Times” shows an Israeli-American family where what was supposed to be a nice family dinner turns into madness. It is not a movie to be taken too seriously but to enjoy it for its violence and dark humor. The first half of the film can be slightly dull, and the foundation could have been set sooner, but the second half rewards the viewer with pure violence and fun.

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