Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not Another Happy Ending

Last night was the opening night of the Cleveland International Film Festival, and it opened with a Scottish romantic comedy called Not Another Happy Ending. It's the story of a first-time novelist who tries to avoid becoming enamored with her publisher, becomes writer's blocked, reunites with her estranged father, and starts to see visions of her second novel's imaginary heroine. Yeah, I know. That's an awful lot to throw into one 2-hour film.

I am not the target audience for this film. I hate romantic comedies, and I rarely review them.

So, there's wooden acting, dreadful music, and 3 zany montages. 3! That's entirely too many montages. At approximately the 3/4 mark, the cameraman is visible in a framed picture hanging on a wall. Unfortunately, the funniest moment of the film was a sight gag involving a book called Enjoying Outdoor Sex In Scotland.

Don't get me wrong, Not Another Happy Ending had its moments. The imaginary heroine of the book could have been expanded, but since the film-makers decided to go heavy on the montages this was a comedic experiment that failed. The male friend/secretary/teacher was another moment that could have been expanded, but seemed jumbled and confused. I'm still not entire certain what his purpose was in the film, although he provided a couple of brief moments of levity. Both characters were a little too thinly drawn. However, the lead actress was adorable, and the dad was a solid, affable actor although we never really learned too much about why he was such an unconvincing scoundrel except as a few hints throughout the film and a couple of lines of backstory before a game of pub trivia. Another example of where losing the montages and writing about these writer's seemingly only companions would have fleshed out a weakly characterized script.

At nearly two hours, Not Another Happy Ending never seemed like we were going to get to the could've-seen-it-coming-a-mile-away happy ending, and at the same time it felt like I didn't learn anything about the central characters. This film probably would have worked better as a one season TV comedy.

It was a refreshing change to start the film festival with a fluffy bit of nonsense like Not Another Happy Ending, but it would have been nice to watch a comedy with a little bite to it.

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