Happy Hour (2004)
An alcoholic must choose between love, life, and the bottle in this independent comedy drama. Tulley (Anthony LaPaglia) is a self-described "drinker with a writing problem," who after publishing a handful of well-respected short stories, began work on a novel. The novel, however, turned out to be a harder task than Tulley imagined, and he opted to take a job as an advertising copywriter, where he earns a good living but makes scant use of his talent. Tulley has also fallen into a habit of heavy drinking, as his best friend, Levine (Eric Stoltz), looks on with bemused concern. One night at a bar, Tulley meets Natalie (Caroleen Feeney), a teacher who doesn't much care for children, and what starts as a one-night stand turns into a love affair. As Natalie gets to know Tulley better, she discovers the talent lurking behind his alcoholic defenses, and encourages him to devote himself to literature again. However, as they fall deeper in love, Tulley discovers he has a larger problem than his novel to deal with -- he's been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and won't have long to live if he can't change his ways. … More
- Drama , Romance , Art House & International , Sports & Fitness , Comedy
- Directed By:
- Pevi Eviibirose , Mike Bencivenga
- Written By:
- Mike Bencivenga , Richard P. Levine , Richard Levine
- In Theaters:
- Oct 22, 2004 Wide
- On DVD:
- Apr 4, 2006
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Critic Reviews for Happy Hour
In a world with so many problems, it's hard to drum up any sympathy for these characters' profligate self-destruction.
First-time writer-director Mike Bencivenga and co-writer Richard Levine have a flair for brittle repartee, and an obvious affection for literate drunks, but their take on the drinking life feels antiquated and movie-derived.
LaPaglia is solid and there's a grittiness here, and a clear-eyed approach to alcoholism that's reminiscent of Leaving Las Vegas.
If only its characters weren't such stereotypes.
What you'll remember most about the movie is its banal script and dialogue so ripe it almost laughs at itself.
The characters in Happy Hour are stick figures from a musty old teleplay that might be titled The Days of Wine and Malarkey.
The premise of the ever-soused movie is solid, too bad the execution is anything but.
Drama of a self-destructive, boozing New York ad man would reek of cliche were it not for a virtuosic performance from Anthony LaPaglia, who still fails to make this small film big.
Happy Hour is strictly college-level compost, content with its mediocrity, if not wholly unaware of it.
Nothing especially new, but a well-acted chamber piece about a self-destructive writer.
Provides enough tragi-comedy to make the viewer feel like drowning their own sorrows... while laughing to lift their spirits.
Once the story takes its big turn toward tragedy, though, it becomes predictable and sentimental.
This is the kind of tripe that wouldn't get past a junior editor at a publishing house.
A small film, a tiny cast, a labor of love with a minuscule budget that shows in the poor lighting and even worse sound quality. That it was made is the thing to be applauded.
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