Review – EIFF 2013 – Not Another Happy Ending




Film: Not Another Happy Ending

Director: John McKay

Production: Synchronicity

Writers: David Solomons

Cast: Karen Gillan, Tom Duval, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Ian Cusick, Kate Dickie, Gary Lewis


Rating: Walkout


I was never expecting great things with Not Another Happy Ending, at the least I hoped it would have some entertaining qualities or try to be fairly enjoyable. Admittedly I have been campaigning vociferously that Creative Scotland backs something that doesn’t require being dosed up on methadone after leaving the cinema. However this has gone completely the opposite way with offering something that is so sweet and innocent it leaves you squirming for a bus to mow down at least one of the characters if not all of them.

Jane Lockhart, Karen Gillan, is a young Glasgow based hopeful novelist, inspired by the absence of her father to write her story. Jane is hit with a tidal wave of rejection until one wild card publishing house ran by a French man with the most English of names, Stanley Webber, Tom Duval, takes a punt on her and works closely with her to get her novel up to scratch. It’s all chasing each other around lamp-posts as they both assume a ‘hidden attraction’ to one another that’s developed and over in the time it takes to eat a Cadbury’s Fudge. Eventually the book is published, to Jane’s annoyance, not with the title she gave. A crack develops in their relationship but it’s all good as the novel is a massive success, Jane meets her long lost dad, Gary Lewis, starts a relationship with leading screenwriter Willie, Henry Ian Cusick who begins adapting her novel into a screenplay, oh and without any real reason, move in together. Anyway Jane becomes quite happy but develops writer’s block and can’t finish up her second novel. A concerned Stanley who needs a second success desperately decides that if she was unhappy she will find the inspiration to finish her novel. So he breaks into her flat, spreads some crumbs and steals her plant. It was at this point I decided to break out of the cinema before I turned into a serial killer.

A publisher/editor secretly tormenting their writer to motivate them to write a better novel is not a bad idea, and it could lead to some really great scenes, but instead the writer opts that the editor steals his writer’s plant, which demonstrates the woeful approach at trying to create dramatic tension, comedy or heartfelt moments. It’s like the easiest and most obvious thing to write. It’s a mighty chore to try to like any of the characters, all their problems are white middle class first world problems. “The successful writer gets happy and gets writers block”, are we really expected to give a care about that. The acting is atrocious, mostly because it’s casted with drama actors asked to do comedy, although Iain De Caestecker can be excused, it must have been truly awful for him paired with a gap model, who’s acting was so wooden Iain must have thought he could make a tree house out of him. Tom Duval clearly demonstrates everything wrong with the casting, relying on looks rather than any form of interesting character traits. John Hannah, Humpfrey Bogarde, Bill Murray are not handsome guys but they know how to charm a snake into vegetarianism, its not about good looks, its about good characterisation and acting.

Visually, although very colourful to the point it looks as though Glasgow has never had so much vitamin D, but it’s still got that feeling that it’s just another TV show, it reminded me of Lip Service, which in fact is on the directors credit list. It’s so woeful on so many levels that it demonstrates Scotland’s loss at trying to create a film with wit and charm.

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