Not Another Happy Ending.
dir John McKay
scr David Solomons
prd Claire Mundell
with Karen Gillan, Stanley Weber, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Ian Cusick, Gary Lewis, Kate Dickie, Amy Manson, Freya Mavor, John Bett, Louise Goodall, Cora Bissett, Callum Cuthbertson
release UK 11.Oct.13
13/UK 1h38
Not Another Happy Ending.
Rom-com redux: Gillan and Weber

decaestecker cusick lewis
edinburgh film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Not Another Happy Ending. A rom-com without much actual romance or comedy, this Scottish romp resolutely refuses to come together into anything meaningful. The cast gives it what they can, but they are underserved by choppy direction and a simplistic script that never breaks the surface.

In Glasgow, struggling author Jane (Gillan) finally gets a nibble on her first novel from a tiny publishing house run by Frenchman Tom (Weber) and his assistant Roddy (De Caestecker). And her gloomy tale of father-daughter torment strikes a nerve, selling well and winning awards. She even picks up a glamorous boyfriend in noted screenwriter Willie (Cusick). Then she gets writer's block just as she's composing the final chapter of her second book. So Tom and Roddy plot to make her life miserable to get her back in the authorial mood.

Credit should go to screenwriter Solomons for at least trying to revamp the standard romantic-comedy plot structure. But it doesn't work at all. From the start, we can see that clearly Jane and Tom are destined for each other, but their second-act hatred phase starts much earlier than usual, painfully dragging out the moment of truth. Which makes everything else feel like a distraction, including Jane's emotionally fraught reunion with her father (Lewis) and her fantasy interaction with her book's main character (Manson).

Director McKay seems more interested in getting every Glasgow landmark on screen than sticking with his characters. Much of the plot is conveyed through musical montages featuring local bands, which means that the characters don't get to interact properly. So while the film is colourful, with a light and warm tone and some terrific music, it never grabs our interest because we can't remotely care about these people. And when it dips into contrived slapstick, it's mildly amusing but never funny.

An underlying problem is that we never believe any of it. For a starving unpublished author, Jane lives in a gorgeously enormous flat. And Tom's money problems aren't much more plausible as he deals with his "relationship manager" (Dickie). Also, what exactly is his relationship with Roddy? All of this leaves the actors floundering on screen in search of their characters while fruitlessly trying to find something that rings true.

cert 12 themes, language 16.Sep.13

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