How do you find happiness? What do you do about regret? What would you do if you had a chance to change a single mistake in your life? These are some of the questions explored in the quirky and fun Welcome to Happiness, which screened at Dances With Films on Sunday.
We begin with Woody (Kyle Gallner), a children’s book writer who has a side gig as the gatekeeper to another world. Total strangers knock on his door, he asks them questions, and then they go through a magical door in his closet. What happens to them after that, he has no idea.
Meanwhile, Nyles (Brendan Sexton III) is a desperate and broken man, whom circumstances lead to discover a valuable baseball card and try to sell it, while Ripley (Josh Brener) feuds with his brother over their deceased parents’ belongings and their differing reactions to their death.
There are a lot of different threads in this movie, but they have similar themes and they all connect in the end. The characters are all strangers, but unbeknownst to them, their paths are inextricably intertwined—which is one of the major themes of the film.
Best in the cast is Proctor (Keegan-Michael Key of Key and Peele), an eccentric, uber-friendly billionaire who always seems to be mentally somewhere else, but who at the same time seems to be the only one who knows everything that’s going on. His scenes are very brief, but he’s a delight to watch. Also of note is Nick Offerman as Moses, Woody’s landlord, who’s also a bit quirky, but a little more grounded and wiser than he seems.
This movie was a lot of fun to watch. It deals with some heavy and difficult issues, but, in the end, it’s refreshing and uplifting. It’s just offbeat enough to be the kind of film that you can enjoy again and again. And, frankly, I look forward to doing that. If you like odd, low-key fantasy movies, then Welcome to Happiness is the movie for you.