In his summers off from the long-running TV show How I Met Your Mother, actor Josh Radnor writes and directs small, tweedy romantic comedies. The first, happythankyoumoreplease, isn’t really worth your time, but he has made some strides with Liberal Arts. As the name suggests, the film takes place primarily on a Midwestern college campus, where Jesse (Radnor) has returned after 10 years in New York to bid farewell to a former professor. He meets co-ed Zibby (Elisabeth Olsen), and despite the age difference, they hit it off in ways equal parts Annie Hall and Before Sunrise. This is not at the level of either of those films, but they appear to be the broad targets. Radnor’s writing has improved; Liberal Arts has some clever, well-crafted dialogue. He’s still not selfless enough as a filmmaker, although Radnor is moving in the right direction.
Director: Josh Radnor
Producer: Brice Dal Farra, Claude Farra, Lauren Munsch, Jesse Hara, Josh Radnor, Peter Graham, Stephen Hays and Paul Prokop
Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser, Zac Efron, Kate Burton, Robert Desiderio and Ali Ahn