A young woman named Amelia (Liane Balaban) comes to New Orleans in search of her missing sister, Muriel (Shalom Harlow). She stays with her distracted aunt Lois (Ally Sheedy) and young niece (Josephine Martin).
With the help of Lois's neighbor, a run-down, retired private-eye named Bill (Clarence Williams III), Amelia focuses on the only clue to Muriel's disappearance: a computer with a wiped-out hard drive.
With Bill's help, Amelia makes online contact with a drawling, philosophically inclined young man calling himself Eddie Mars--a man reachable only in the disembodied realm of cyberspace.
It's evident that Eddie Mars has had some contact with the missing woman, but the nature of their relationship is unclear.
As Amelia tries to track Eddie down, other New Orleanians enter the picture: a termite control expert (David Arquette) holed up in a tented house; his brother, Tom, an accident-prone fireman (Karl Geary); and a recently widowed music teacher, Hannah (Gloria Reuben).
There's also a trio of squatters (Isabel Gillies, Nic Ratner and Quintron) who had been living with Muriel, and local R&B legend Ernie K-Doe, presiding over his Mother-in-Law Lounge.
Set just a few moments into the future, "Happy Here and Now" hinges on an around-the-corner sci-fi premise, involving a computer technology that allows people to project alternate identities over the Internet. But the movie's dreamlike aspect emerges from real people and places. As various characters cross paths, a larger story takes shape-a chronicle of isolated souls searching for connection in a contemporary wilderness.