Not Another Happy Ending (2013)

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It’s almost unfair to label this rom-com as terrible because it doesn’t truly re-write the laws of the romantic comedy genre, and that’s what it’s attempting here, but it’s not great either. It’s cheesy in a few places, predictable and feels long but it’s by no means wholly unwatchable and some fresh performances from some of the main players alongside a couple of cool moments makes it okay.

This film sees a novelist; Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan) finally getting a break by the hands of a struggling publication company. The head/editor of this business called Tom Duvall (Stanley Weber) sees some potential in Jane and signs her to a 2 book contract, though after the success of her first book she cannot find a way to finish the second and the resurfacing of a person close to her could only distract her further.

Amongst all these writing, non writing lark there of course is the core of a love story, though not an overly stuffed down your throat one to begin with, however clearly they set up the mutual attraction Jane and Tom have for one another. It is a little cheesy through a certain sequence where they have the lives of the two mirror and all their quaint editing meetings lead to a path signed ‘falling in love’. It’s just a bit rushed and from that point on whatever obstacles land in their way you just know it will all be alright. Aside from that major predictability which leaves near to no room for exciting uncertainty in plot development, the two characters are made for each other in their own way and so that’s sweet I guess.

The music helps the film an awful lot, as I guess most films do, but here you only feel the emotions thanks to the soundtrack which feels like aural manipulation and perhaps with a less obvious song or nothing at all the impact may have been nonexistent. In the case of a scene that did feel kind of sad we have Emeli Sande to credit for giving us that goosebump layer over the action.

Considering this is a movie all about an author and her issues with carrying on writing, you’d think the script would be tighter or at least fresh in a sense. It doesn’t do anything of major note to re sculpt the rom-com genre and that’s a shame. The idea of Tom trying and failing to make Jane unhappy because he feels that’s how she writes best is a neat trick but after one plan that’s dropped to make room for the more soppy factor of his discovery that he’s in love with her. The best writing inclusion was a cool and surprising addition concerning a recurring character in Jane’s mind. I really liked that part. The whole dad/daughter dynamic felt cliched to stir up family drama and the inevitable romance bangs away in the front of your mind throughout the whole film as you wait for it to just happen already.

On the plus side, I liked the style of the film. It’s presented in a quirky cool way. A fashionable film if nothing else anyway. From the image of the cast to the settings and locations, they do well to make both the characters and Scotland look different and trendy. The clutter and uneven mess of Tom’s company looks the part to tell us from the outset that this place looks in a state. Jane’s apartment is cleanliness personified and that works to show how she occupies her time doing everything including naked baking to try and get her novelist mind working. The costuming department can be proud in the design of Jane who looks proper cute and polished in her buttoned up shirts, hats and twee trousers. A character with lots to like and potential to burn from her great author sounding name to her look.

I liked moments of the comedy attempts to. A good number of lines made me smile and the film works on that level of feeling homely, it possesses that sharp British/Scottish quality. The witticisms do land more than they crash and that’s good to notice, though after a while it feels like the comedy wains to let the romantic story blossom, yawn.

My biggest problem with the film is that it reverted to having a happy ending and the entire time I was praying that for a British made film it would come up with a clever and un-Hollywood ending but alas. Especially given the name of the movie I was expecting, not a twist but a unique or intelligent close that could be interpreted different ways and at one specific moment I felt happy because I thought the filmmakers had done it with a somber graveside scene which falls apart pretty quickly.

It’s just not a resoundingly fantastic or even great movie because the script feels long and unshined, which is ironic due to the film being about the whole journey of writing. Gillan, Iain De Caestaecker and a couple of good jokes are only gems in this otherwise uninteresting film.

5/10

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