My adolescence was marked by watching Gregg Araki's independent films like Totally Fucked Up!, Doomed Generation and then Nowhere. For someone growing up on a small rural island province, the films really expressed the mysterious and almost meaningless excitement of the big city. (Especially Nowhere where James Duvall's "Dark Smith" character discovers his love for Nathan Bexton's "Montgomery" character and the surprise ending). Even Gregg Araki's meaningful and tragic Mysterious Skin captivated my heart and was able to better show the meaning behind the seemingly meaninglessness of the other three films.
I got Hey Happy! because it was on someone's list of must see Asian gay cinema. I was suspicious because of netflix.com's synopsis:
DJ Sabu scratches apocalypse in his mythic quest to sleep with 2000 guys. His quest finally ends with Happy, a paranoid UFOlogist to whom aliens promise to appear (as his love child). Spanky, an evil hairdresser and self-proclaimed "biggest wench in the world," is trying to foil Sabu's mission at every turn. The action unfolds at a series of raves on old Garbage Hill in a strange place we call Winnipeg.
DJ Sabu is Jeremie Yuen. Yes, he's a hottie Eurasian guy but that is about the only interesting thing in the movie. Having gone through adolescence with Gregg Araki, I am well qualified to judge strange and unusual postmodern films from crap. I ended up putting the DVD on 1.4 speed to get through it and then read a few magazines along the way. That is how awful it was. I'm shocked it got into Sundance. However, I can see how someone who didn't emotionally relate to Gregg Araki's trilogy would not be able to differentiate between Hey, Happy! and Gregg Araki's films and mistake it for being in the Araki genre.
If you are really interested in watching a gay independent movie that is unusual and strange, I'd pick up Nowhere (if you want a gay tragedy) or Doomed Generation (if you want a silahis-style tragedy). If you like movies that make up for a dull plot with strange two dimensional characters, are a budding Director of Photography or are interested in electronica music, then watch this movie.