Welcome to Happiness (2015) Movie Review

Director: Oliver Thompson

Writer: Oliver Thompson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kyle Gallner, Olivia Thirlby, Nick Offerman, Keegan-Michael Key, Brendan Sexton III, Josh Brener, Molly C Quinn

Plot: There’s a magical door in Woody’s closet that allows those who go through it to erase mistakes from their past. When he finds out where it goes, his life will be changed forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strange and Quirky

Story: Welcome to Happiness starts as young man Woody (Gallner) a children’s author who welcomes strangers into his apartment to help them go through his erase their mistakes, this makes his life complicated when he starts becoming friendly with a fellow tenant Trudy (Thirlby). Meanwhile Nyles (Sexton III) a man that is cleaning up after his father’s death, learns that he has valuable baseball cards, which sees him getting drawn into a big adventure around the people who want in on the business.

When Woody sees the full effect of the visits, he starts to question why he can’t change moments from his past, which soon starts to put a strain on his relationship with Trudy, while his landlord Moses (Offerman) is encouraged with his work.

Thoughts on Welcome to Happiness

Characters – Woody is a children’s author that has just moved into an apartment which sees strangers visit, answer a string of questions before putting them in a closet where they vanish. He doesn’t know what happens next until he meets one of the visitors, which leaves him wondering why he can’t change his past, which only makes him out to be going crazy to his girlfriend. Trudy is the new neighbour to Woody who strikes up a relationship with him, she does question him about the visit and doesn’t believe him when he tells the story. Moses is the landlord that knows about the closet, he knows how it helps people and who should be the one that guides people through it. Nyles is a depressed man that learns about the treasure in his father’s attic, he ends up follow a string of instructions, which will sees him visiting the closet.

PerformancesKyle Gallner does well in the leading role, it shows us just how difficult being an author with pain in his life can be difficult to get through. This does have a big cast, with each actor doing their thing to make us understand figures they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself in the unusual position of having to deal with strangers looking to answer questions, which would see them disappear in his closet, over time he wants to know more, which will soon start to push him to his limits. This is an interesting little story, it does show us how difficult living in despair could be on the people in life, they will need to learn to move on, because once you break down everything, you never know what could have been in the world. We do have to meet a lot of characters, which do seem to have moments of randomness, though it does all make sense by the end of the film.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film comes from just how far out there certain ideas are, mixed in with certain characters too, the fantasy shows us how the closet works and just how life can be seen differently if people come into it.

SettingsThe settings for the film does try to put everything into a position of everyday, leading down the same plan as people you see in life will have stories you might not always get to know.


Scene of the Movie – Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters don’t seem needed at times.

Final Thoughts This is a very strange movie, it does have an important message, that does need to help us reflect our own lives, even if it does lean away from it at times.

Overall: Interesting throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2020 – P – Playing with Fire (2019) Movie Review

Director: Andy Fickman

Writer: Dan Ewen, Matt Lieberman (Screenplay)

Starring: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery

Plot: A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.


Tagline – 0% contained

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Playing with Fire starts as we meet a group of smokejumpers Jake (Cena), Mark (Key), Rodrigo (Leguizamo) and Axe (Mane) that believe they are the elite in fighting fires with Jake following in his father’s footsteps demanding a perfectly run department.

When the four rescue three children Brynn (Hildebrand), Will (Convery) and Zoey (Slater) the four are left to look after the kids until a storm finishes, now they men will see them dealing with the most difficult challenge of their lives, children.

Thoughts on Playing with Fire

Characters – Jake is the commander of the station, he plays everything by the rulebook not stepping outside his comfort zone, he will do anything to make sure his unit is the best in the area, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, he is emotional closed and this is made him live the remote life not letting people in. Mark is the second in command that will do anything to help Jake keep the department running smoothly. Rodrigo is the chef that always misquotes famous people that is about to get the promotion that he isn’t ready for. Axe is the silent one of the group, always carrying around an axe, he will make us wait for his big moment to speak. Brynn, Will and Zoey are the three children the unit save, they are difficult to handle with them having their own quirks, they will help turn the opinions of Jake on life in a way he never knew.

PerformancesJohn Cena continues to shine in the comedic roles, while embracing the physical side of his appearance. Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo bring the comedy to the film more often than not, with Key sometimes going to much with it, while Leguizamo gets stronger laughs. Tyler Mane often steals the scenes here too, with the silent comedy performance, the younger stars do some off like the handfuls they are meant to be playing through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows four smokejumpers that must care for three children after a rescue, which will see them needing to handle the challenge none of them are used to, children, which will bring them together more than before. This is a story that will come off on the simple side, with lots of over the top behaviour going on, the younger children’s behaviour is completely unrealistic, which will play into the comedy, but the story does have the heart to show us just how important doing the right thing will be for people.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is a right mix, with the created situations of wildly over the top behaviour not getting as much of a laugh as the calmer situations, which are a well played out creation, this does however play into the family friendly creation the film is going for.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the fire station, which will give the children different equipment to get into trouble playing with, while also giving the idea that they are safer then they could have been.


Scene of the Movie – The birthday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The kids Will and Zoey do come off more difficult than they should.

Final Thoughts Playing With Fire is an entertaining comedy, burning with laughter from start to finish.