Surprisingly, the moments in the musical “Be Happy!” that are the most unnatural aren’t the ones where characters burst into song. Instead, the most off-putting bits in this English-language oddity from veteran Catalan director Ventura Pons are those when the actors speak, alternating between banal conversation and famous quotes.
Pons also is credited with the film’s screenplay, but he should share billing with Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare and Mae West, among others. The slim plot focuses on the relationship between two lovers, David (Billy Cullum) and Daniel (Toni Vallès), and their network of friends who wonder about the state of their romance.
Outside of a shocking moment of casual racism, “Be Happy!” is as earnest and genial as its title suggests. However, repetitive lyrics, nonsensical camera angles and incomprehensible edits will leave viewers feeling anything but positive.
Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Playing: Starts July 26, Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood