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Happy Endings (2005)

tomatometer

54

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 106
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 49

Despite strong individual performances, the overlong, disjointed plot of Happy Endings self-indulgently rambles.

51

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 17

Despite strong individual performances, the overlong, disjointed plot of Happy Endings self-indulgently rambles.

audience

64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 9,030

My Rating

Movie Info

Three loosely interrelated stories of dysfunctional relationships are played for edgy laughs in this dark comedy drama from writer and director Don Roos. An unexpected assignation between stepsiblings Mamie and Charley results in Mamie becoming pregnant, with the child being put up for adoption shortly after birth. Twenty years later, Mamie (Lisa Kudrow) is approached by Nicky (Jesse Bradford), an aspiring filmmaker with an abrasive personality who claims to know where her long-lost son is

R,

Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Don Roos

Nov 5, 2005

$1.2M

Lions Gate Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (117) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (49) | DVD (14)

Intriguing but overlong and indulgent, the work of a writer too in love with his characters.

August 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Serves as a relaunching pad for the magical talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jude.

August 11, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Roos's movie is so aggressively pleased with itself it leaves you feeling it doesn't even need an audience.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It] feels like Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia for adolescents.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

November 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine Australasia
Empire Magazine Australasia

Potent social satire mixes with multiple characters incapable of telling the truth, especially to themselves, in writer/director Don Roos' enjoyable comedy of deception and dysfunction.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

There's a little fanciful magic to spread over this flighty romance on the run, or at least enough to take that hackneyed notion of the happy ending, and fashion something fresh and new.

October 5, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

Rarely has a film started so brilliantly and then so willfully shot itself directly in the foot.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A quirky and often enjoyable film about dysfunctional relationships, Happy Endings brings together separate stories about complicated characters who are all trying to deal with the truth.

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The cast is a who's who, a who's not, and a who might one day be; they're the best part of a picture that is unnecessarily complex.

November 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Happy Endings is two-thirds of a really good film.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The most satisfying film of the year.

September 23, 2005 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

An unsuccessful attempt is made to tie all these loose threads together into one coherent story.

September 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

...an uneven, sometimes rambling journey that elicits mostly false emotion with regard to the payoff suggested by its title.

August 29, 2005 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

Lisa Kudrow's sporting serious brown hair. Tom Arnold's wearing a rare dramatic frown. So we know Happy Endings isn't likely to be a frivolous comedy.

August 12, 2005

...although it's generally entertaining throughout, Happy Endings just doesn't have the emotional impact that Roos is clearly striving for.

August 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Overstuffed with characters and contrivances.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Roos does better at imparting a sense of the striving that's inherent to L.A., letting us know, through the characters' living situations, that not everyone shares in the town's magic.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

It isn't quite right to call Happy Endings a comedy, although the film does have plenty of dark humour. It's more of an urban fairy tale, and a positive urban fairy tale about the pursuit of love.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Even more cynical than the characters in Happy Endings is how Roos treats them in the final reel.

August 5, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Happy Endings

movie is so-so
August 9, 2011
Anatoliy Dudaev

Super Reviewer

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.
March 31, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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.
January 30, 2011
romy861

Super Reviewer

A really interesting story and quite a few likable characters. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan and Jesse Bradford all give really good performances, while some of the other actors seem to go unnoticed. The stories are all pretty interesting and have a very different feel to each one, which was really an interesting approach.
November 18, 2009
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

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November 17, 2005:
Oh It's Already Been Broughten (Part 3)
A fresh press release from Universal informs us that there will soon be a "Bring It On 3"...
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