Sundance red carpet photos, review: ‘Happy Christmas’ with Anna Kendrick
Published: January 22, 2014 09:40AM
Updated: January 21, 2014 12:12PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Anna Kendrick and “Happy Christmas,” director by Joe Swanberg holds his son Jude at the Sundance Film Festival premiere at the Library Center, in Park City, Sunday, Jan. 19 January 19, 2014.

“Happy Christmas” (U.S. Dramatic)

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The prolific director Joe Swanberg and his improv-ready cast conjure up an engaging comedy about women probing their identity in “Happy Christmas.”

Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and Jeff (played by Swanberg), married with a two-year-old (Swanberg’s scene-stealing son Jude), welcome Jeff’s screw-up sister Jenny (Anna Kendrick) to their Chicago home for Christmas. Jenny’s a mess, prone to binge-drinking and just over a break-up, but she’s also a creative spark that Kelly, a novelist stuck in her stay-at-home mom status, needs to get going.

The byplay between Lynskey and Kendrick, with a boost from Lena Dunham as Jenny’s best friend, opens up funny and emotionally authentic conversations about the perils of women “having it all.”

Sundance premiere

“Happy Christmas,” directed by Joe Swanberg about a young woman who moves in with family after a breakup, made its premiere Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. The cast includes Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham and Swanberg; part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition program.

“Happy Christmas” screens again: Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Redstone Cinema 2, Park City (Summit County residents have priority; pass holders and others need to wait list); Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Eccles Theatre, Park City; and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Library Center Theatre, Park City.