Happy Endings (2005)
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Critic Reviews for Happy Endings
Intriguing but overlong and indulgent, the work of a writer too in love with his characters.
Serves as a relaunching pad for the magical talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jude.
Roos's movie is so aggressively pleased with itself it leaves you feeling it doesn't even need an audience.
The drama never feels more than a well-shot TV soap. Worse is Roos' tragic insistence on text inserts to explain every motivation, making the whole thing look like a fatal cross between Queer As Folk and VH1's Pop Up Video.
Audience Reviews for Happy Endings
movie is so-so
Multiple intersecting stories, including plots about blackmail, stolen sperm, and a woman who fucks a gay drummer and his father, are at the center of this Robert Altman imitation.
By the end of this film, I thought that it had reached the Altman Standard in terms of its ability to cleverly combine these characters with some degree of dramatic effectiveness. I write "dramatic" intentionally because even though the title cards and other sources identify this as a comedy, I saw very little humorous about its situations or delivery. Sure, there are a couple moments that were chuckle-worthy, but that's about it.
In my sentence-summary of the film, I listed the most prominent plots, and if you think I'm being somewhat satirical, you're right. A lot of the critics' reviews of Happy Endings lamented the ludicrousness of its storylines, and from a writer's standpoint, I have to agree. However, good actors can sometimes save bad writing. The way in which each of these actors commit to their characters makes the film almost believable. Of particular note is Lisa Kudrow, with whom I, a long-time Friends hater, have never been impressed. But she scraps her ditsy-girl act, and her damaged character exudes a vulnerability that her other work didn't allow her to explore.
Also, throughout the film we get title cards explaining characters' back-stories, and this strikes me as lazy filmmaking. Instead of deftly showing the information we need, the film inundates the audience with minutiae and sly comments that have little bearing on the film's action.
Overall, though there are some significant issues from a writing perspective, the actors save this piece.
This is a great movie. I first watched it a few years ago, and I couldn't remember a great deal about it, aside from that I enjoyed it. Had a few hours this afternoon, (and I mean that literally, it is over 2 hours long).
This is a black comedy and has a great cast including Maggie Gylenhaal in an early role (probably my favourite character in this. She is not especially likable, but I did like her, she plays the part in such a way that you want to make excuses for her). There's also Lisa Kudrow in sour and bitchy mode, similar to the character she played in The opposite of sex, which I think was the same director, which explains a few things. The two movies definitely have similarities.
I really liked how this movie ran so many different stories together, and how it used text to narrate some of the story. An interesting and well written story.
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