A married couple's relationship is tested by the arrival of a mysterious stranger in Happily. Tom () and Janet () have been extremely happily married for 14 years, which includes an extremely active sex life that comes off as an annoyance to their friends, which consist of fellow couples Karen () and Val (), Patricia () and Donald (), Maude (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Carla (Shannon Woodward), and Richard (Breckin Meyer) and Gretel (Charlyne Yi). Suddenly, Tom and Janet are visited by the mysterious Goodman (), who explains to the couple that their extremely happy marriage is the result of a defect. The encounter results in a dead body and Tom and Janet head off to a couples' vacation not knowing if they can trust their friends.

Happily is a dark comedy with a Twilight Zone twist from writer/director BenDavid Grabinski (Are You Afraid of the Dark?). The film focuses on the couple of Tom and Janet, who have come to discover that their very active sex lives are met with disdain by their group of friends, who expect them to be “as miserable as everyone else.” However, things get weird when the couple is approached by Goodman, who explains that Tom and Janet are missing the biological defence mechanism that causes their affection to diminish over time. The encounter ends with Goodman being bashed over the head by Janet and buried in the woods, though Tom and Janet begin to wonder whether this mysterious man was telling the truth or if it was merely a cruel prank by one of their so-called friends.

At the core of the story for Happily is the belief that it is somehow abnormal that a couple can be married for 14 years, yet still act as amorous as they were on their honeymoon. This sets the stage for a character study, where we learn over the course of the film that all of these couples have some sort of flaw. The Twilight Zone elements of the film are a bit hit and miss, though I do have note Stephen Root was perfectly cast as the mysterious stranger who sets the main conflict of the film in motion, despite him having relatively little screentime in the film. In fact, I would argue that casting for Happily is solid all around, with leads Joel McHale (Community) and Kerry Bishé (Penny Dreadful: City of Angels) having relatively good chemistry with each other.

Overall, if you are the type of person that likes your romantic movies with a dash of Twilight Zone weirdness, Happily might be a film worth checking out.

Happily is now available on VOD platforms

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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