Happy Ever Afters Movie Review

Bright and comical, but never actually funny, this Irish rom-com features a very strong cast that almost makes up for the extremely thin but busy script and direction. But without a sense of focus, it feels like it will never end.

On the same day that Maura (Hawkins) is marrying Wilson (Bakare) so he can get his visa, Freddie (Riley) is remarrying his ex-wife Sophie (Yourell). And both are holding their receptions at the same seaside hotel, where things quickly start getting complicated. As Maura's 9-year-old daughter Molly (Maquire) begins to understand that this isn't a real marriage, the hyper-jealous Sophie randomly starts to think that Freddie and Maura are having an affair. And things get worse when a couple of immigration cops (McElhatton and Pearse) start snooping around.

Writer-director Burke opens the film with playfully entwined editing that completely misleads us until he starts unravelling the knots to show us these two distinct wedding parties, each with its own issues and stresses. Of course, the fact that the reception venue is double-booked causes plenty of panic, which is quickly resolved so the plot can start churning through its slapstick comedy, strained emotion and even some rather dark drama. The problem is that, even though it's energetic and silly, it's also extremely predictable.

And the characters only barely rise above stereotypes. Hawkins is a blast of fresh air at the centre, whirling through each scene with a realistic sense of Maura's desperation as well as an openness to what life throws at her. Her scenes with Maguire are the film's most authentic moments. Meanwhile, Riley is enjoyable flustered as the oddly pudgy-nervous Freddie. Virtually everyone else is a comedy stereotype.

But as their mixed-up situation gets increasingly messy, the film only gets more predictable. It also feels badly stretched out through side-plots including Sophie's madcap escape and an eerily bleak suicide attempt. And the build-up to the rather ludicrous climax feels both belaboured and simplistic.

Even so, it's possible to sit back and enjoy the chaos of these two disastrous weddings, even if it all ends in a bizarrely blunt anti-marriage message.

Cast & Crew

Director : Stephen Burke

Producer : Lesley McKimm, Alex Ward

Starring : , Tom Riley, Jade Yourell, Ariyon Bakare, Sinead Maguire, Stanley Townsend, Susan Fitzgerald, Deirdre Molloy


Happy Ever Afters Rating

" Weak "

Rating: 15, 2009


More Sally Hawkins

Paddington Bear Makes Debut In Funny New Trailer…Minus His Voice

Missing the lead actor in your movie four months before its release? No problem! As was evidently thought by director Paul King and the makers...

Paddington Trailer

Paddington is a young Peruvian bear who has always held a curiosity for the city of London. After his equally adventurous Aunt Lucy's home is...

'Godzilla' Is More Growling Than Roaring Success, But Still... [Trailer]

It's going to be a big weekend for Godzilla: the monster action reboot has been teasing its entrance for months with irresistibly gloomy and stylised...

Godzilla Movie Review

For a blockbuster about gigantic radioactive monsters, this is a remarkably humane movie. But then that's no surprise for a film from Gareth Edwards, whose...


Godzilla Causes Tsunamis, Rampages Through Cities, Destroys Armies In Extended Look [Trailer & Pictures]

The extended trailer for Godzilla has been released and shows the large lizard at his very worst: causing Tsunamis, destroying cities and taking on the...

Godzilla Trailer

Joe Brody and his wife Sandra are working at a nuclear power plant when disaster strikes. The building collapses, forcing an immediate evacuation of employees...

The Double Movie Review

After his acclaimed drama Submarine, actor-turned-filmmaker Richard Ayoade applies his considerable visual skills to this striking blackly comical adaptation of Dostoevsky's novella. Bristling with wit...

The Double Trailer

Simon is a timid, uncharismatic and largely forgettable man who doesn't seem to be getting anywhere in life. He is rarely acknowledge at work and...