Writer and director Joe Swanberg reunites with his 'Drinking Buddies' star Anna Kendrick for 'Happy Christmas,' an intimate indie dramedy in which Kendrick stars as a willfully regressive 27 year-old who moves in with her older brother and his wife, only to throw their world into (minor) upheaval. A charming counterpoint to popular man-child narratives, Swanberg's latest asks not for sympathy for its main character, but merely identification and a little empathy.
There's a moment in 'Happy Christmas' when Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham have a few cocktails in a basement converted to a tiki bar, and that moment quietly strikes gold. The scene – three woman jawing about the balance of work and life – doesn't gear up to be some big emotional breakthrough. It just happens au naturale, unladen with political pamphleteering or, quite frankly, even looking for any solutions. It is a great microcosm of Joe Swanberg's newest film. Insight does occasionally spring from this movie in what looks like an effortless fashion, but the movie as a whole looks like hardly any effort went into it.