Happy Hour (2004)

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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.

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Critic Reviews for Happy Hour

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7)

In a world with so many problems, it's hard to drum up any sympathy for these characters' profligate self-destruction.

Nov 4, 2004 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

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.

Nov 4, 2004 | Full Review…

LaPaglia is solid and there's a grittiness here, and a clear-eyed approach to alcoholism that's reminiscent of Leaving Las Vegas.

Oct 22, 2004

If only its characters weren't such stereotypes.

Oct 22, 2004 | Rating: 2/4

What you'll remember most about the movie is its banal script and dialogue so ripe it almost laughs at itself.

Oct 22, 2004 | Rating: 1.5/4

The characters in Happy Hour are stick figures from a musty old teleplay that might be titled The Days of Wine and Malarkey.

Oct 21, 2004 | Rating: 1.5/5

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