Mark Reviews Movies

Have a Nice Day


3 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Liu Jian

Cast: The voices of Zhu Changlong, Cao Kai, Liu Jian, Yang Siming, Shi Haitao, Ma Xiaofeng, Xue Feng, Zheng Yi, Cao Kou, Zhu Hong, Wang Da, Liu Jian

MPAA Rating: Not rated

Running Time: 1:17

Release Date: 1/26/18 (limited); 2/16/18 (wider)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | February 15, 2018

The relatively short, occasionally brutal, and sketchily animated Have a Nice Day follows the interconnected stories of a group of seemingly unrelated people. The main connection is a bag filled with cash. It's little surprise, then, that all of these people would come together, forget or ignore what makes them similar, and fight or kill each other for the chance to get their hands on it.

This is not an optimistic film. It possesses, perhaps, one or two sympathetic characters, although that's not really the point. The point, it seems, is the level of desperation that all of these characters share. We might not like their motives or their methods, but we can relate to their collective need to keep things in their lives stable or to grab the chance to move beyond that basic stability.

The "hero" is Xiao Zhang (voice of Zhu Changlong), who robs the cash from a construction site run by mob boss Uncle Liu (voice of Yang Siming). Zhang wants the money to take his unseen girlfriend from China to South Korea, in order to fix a botched plastic surgery. The complications arise once Liu sends an assassin called Skinny (voice of Ma Xiaofeng) to retrieve the cash. There's also the problem that a lot of people learn about the money through their various connections, meaning that everyone decides to take a stab at obtaining it.

You would need a flow chart to keep track of the assorted connections here—who's related to whom, who works for whom, how one character knows of another, and how, in some way, all of these characters were connected even before the money comes into play. The idea is that none of these relationships really matter once the money becomes an issue, except that a relationship is an opening to take advantage of or a weakness to exploit. Technology is clearly on writer/director/designer Liu Jian's mind, with many conversations playing out online or via cellphone, as well as the presence of Yellow Eye (voice of Cao Kou), an amateur inventor.

We're closer than ever, both in terms of how easily we can communicate and our shared longing for something in an increasingly difficult economic climate. Have a Nice Day, though, is about how such ease and desperation simply make harming each other easier and the motives to do so more desperate.

Copyright © 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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