Not Another Happy Ending (2013) Review

Not Another Happy Ending

After “Doctor Who”, but before “Oculus”, Karen Gillan appeared in this modest, modern yet old fashioned romantic comedy about a novelist, her publisher and her screenwriter boyfriend. Although it didn’t really get a wide cinema release it’s available to rent or buy on DVD now.

When a small publishing house run by French editor Tom Duvall (Stanley Weber) decides to publish the debut novel of Scottish author Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan), it’s a case of antagonism at first sight. The novel is a huge success and is optioned to be turned into a movie by celebrated screenwriter Willie Scott (Henry Ian Cusick) and author and publisher agree to part ways after she delivers her second novel and fulfils her contract. However, her success and her new romance with Willie Scott has made Jane very happy and as Tom realises, she can only write when she’s sad. With the survival of his small publishing house resting on the next novel by his only successful author, Tom – with the help of his part-time proof reader Roddy (Iain De Caestecker) – sets out to make Jane as miserable as possible. Things get more complicated when Tom realises he might be self-sabotaging his efforts to make Jane unhappy because he’s falling in love with her.

Although the premise and script are pretty good and the cast solid, it’s Gillan’s effortlessly effervescent presence which carries this film and elevates it above the ordinary. Stanley Weber is suitably enigmatic as the almost impossibly good looking love interest while Henry Ian Cusick leaves his noble and romantic “Lost” character far behind, playing Willie Scott with a deliciously sleazy self-centredness yet still manages to make it believable that our heroine would be with him. Apart from the main love triangle, there’s a great deal going on in the background from Tom’s constant negotiations with his business manager (Kate Dickie) to Roddy constantly trolling the pupils of his English classes with spurious and hilarious lies. A constant thread through the film is the hesitant and faltering reconciliation between Jane’s and her estranged father (Gary Lewis) and in fairness, the film probably could have done with fleshing out that aspect more than it did, especially as you get to learn the circumstances of the estrangement through a brief, tearful expository confession.

All in all though, it’s a charmingly shot, well-acted, gentle romance which shows of the scenery and locations of Glasgow’s Merchant City to great effect. Given that it includes actors known for roles in “Doctor Who”, “Lost”, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Game Of Thrones”, it’s certainly worth a watch for genre fans and non-fans alike.

Score 6