Not Another Happy Ending (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner09/10/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Not Another Happy Ending has its fair share of flaws and tries to do too much at once, but it's ultimately worth seeing thanks to a charming lead performance from Karen Gillan, strong comic support from Iain De Caestecker and a handful of decent gags.

What's it all about?
Directed by John McKay, Not Another Happy Ending is set in Glasgow and stars Karen Gillan as perky novelist Jane Lockhart, who falls out with her handsome, Franco-Scottish independent publisher Tom Duval (Stanley Weber, all stubble and accent) after he changes the title of misery memoir from ‘The Endless Anguish of my Father’ to ‘Happy Endings’. When the book becomes a success, Tom puts pressure on Jane to deliver her contracted second novel but she comes down with a severe case of writer's block with just one chapter to go.

Tom decides that Jane – who has recently reunited with her father (Gary Lewis) and is shacked up with smarmy writer Willie (Henry Ian Cusick) – needs to be unhappy in order to write, so he sets out to unblock her by making her miserable, aided by his friend and flatmate Roddy (Iain De Caestecker). Meanwhile, as if Jane didn't already have enough to deal with, she starts hallucinating that her main character (Amy Manson) has come to life and is nagging her about the book's ending.

The Good
Gillan delivers a charming and likeable performance as Jane; as well as a winning way with a sarcastic one-liner, she also displays a gift for physical comedy, particularly during an amusing Austin Powers-inspired scene where she's unexpectedly in front of Tom. There's also inspired comic support from De Caestecker (who steals every scene as hapless schoolteacher Roddy) and Cusick is on top slimy form as Willie, while Manson is good fun as walking talking hallucination ‘Darsie’.

Not Another Happy Ending’s script duly ticks all the requisite romcom boxes (and boy, does director McKay love a montage) but it does at least deliver some decent jokes in the process. The film also makes strong use of its Glasgow setting and its Scottishness is further trumpeted with a selection of songs by Scottish singer-songwriters on the soundtrack.

The Bad
Not Another Happy Ending's biggest problem is that the script tries to do too much, with the result that none of the various plot elements are explored in satisfying fashion. Similarly, there's an awkward lack of chemistry between Gillan and both her love interests, something that isn't helped by Weber's all-over-the-place line readings and dodgy accent. (Even the normally reliable Gary Lewis is weirdly off his game, indulging in some uncharacteristic over-acting).

On top of that, the script occasionally pushes its luck in the credulity stakes, not least with a plot point involving what is seemingly the world's most generous pub quiz.

Worth seeing?
Not Another Happy Ending is by no means perfect, but it's likeable and charming enough for its flaws to be overlooked, largely thanks to a winning central performance from Karen Gillan. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

Not Another Happy Ending (12A)
Be the first to review Not Another Happy Ending...
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 13/12/2017 03:15

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films