Not a bowl of cherries

âÄúHappy-Go-LuckyâÄù Directed by: Mike Leigh Starring: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Eddie Marsan Rated: R Showing at: Uptown Theater, (612) 825-6006 What makes Poppy Cross so bright and shiny? Head-banging in British techno-rock clubs with her immature roommate (Alexis Zegerman), dressing herself in layers of mismatching sweaters and ponchos always paired with lace tights and enormous boots, riding her petite bike through the scrambling streets of London and smiling a hell of a lot. âÄúHappy-Go-LuckyâÄù is an exhausting cinematic adventure into the painfully slow, ever-so-British life of Poppy, (Sally Hawkins) a colorful 30-year-old primary school teacher who refuses to grow up. In many âÄúdramaticâÄù pauses and incessant gazes off into the horizon, Poppy ponders again and again, âÄúWhy-oh-why canâÄôt everyone in this crazy universe just take a few deep breaths and be happy?âÄù In the process, she prods everyone else around her, from road-raging driving instructors (Eddie Marsan) to stuttering homeless men, into realizing just how unhappy they are. In an attempt to place itself among other films about the trials and tribulations of everyday life, the film moves at a sluggish pace, closely examining her brand of clueless, self-fulfilling interactions, like a long scene displaying her prodding a bookstore clerk for several minutes, who offers no hope of cheery conservation, or another glance at her sitting silently with a homeless man incapable of coherent conversation. The filmâÄôs forced metaphors are campy and awkward, with comparisons between weather and internal turmoil (obviously, the sunshine follows Poppy around) and a contrived scene between Poppy and her sisters that involves the need for âÄúsettling downâÄù and setting goals. Hawkins and the numerous side characters stand out against the filmâÄôs colorless landscape shots of London. From the dissatisfaction in their meandering gaits to their clandestine scowls, Zegerman and Marsan provide a rich insight into the struggle against melancholy and dissatisfaction. HawkinsâÄô Poppy is delightfully subtle and actually succeeds time and again in pulling off those pensive glances toward the sun. She guides us into actually believing that there is no angst behind her cheery facade, a feeling that everyone around her refuses to believe. Another of the filmâÄôs assets is the sweeping soundtrack. Instead of the trite Kate Nash employed to lure you in on the trailer, âÄúHappy-Go-LuckyâÄù is backed by layers of classical music. With interspersed on-rushings of violins and flutes, each song adds a new dimension to its scene, often adding a melodramatic feel to sunny days and the mornings after drunken escapades. Unfortunately, the subtle acting and magnificent soundtrack cannot save this film. Had it been cut to half the length, it would have been a riveting critique on the disappointment that shrouds modern life. Instead, it plays out as though it were a cheesy documentary film. âÄúHappy-Go-LuckyâÄôsâÄù tiring and inconclusive unraveling leaves the audience begging for an intermission.