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Happy Endings Review


Very Good
It's easy for a talented filmmaker to get high on his own talent and fall head over heels in love with his story and characters, to the point where the audience is left somewhat on the outside, peering in through the filmmaker's structural window dressing and trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex) has the ability to be one of those guys, and comes close to it in his Short Cuts-esque panoramic comedy Happy Endings but avoids temptation - for the better enjoyment of everyone involved.

The title is a joke, sort of, like much of the film. It starts with a panicked Lisa Kudrow running frantically through a residential neighborhood, dashing out into the street and getting hit by a car. Then a split screen informs us that she's actually not dead, that "no one dies in this movie," and the film proceeds, in the same jokey, needling manner, to introduce us to the rest of the players in this Los Angeles smashed relationship derby. Kudrow plays Mamie, a tense woman emotionally scarred after that time in her adolescence when got pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption. That memory comes smashing back into her life when wannabe documentarian Nicky (Jesse Bradford, gloriously clueless) shows up, claiming to be friends with her son, and saying he'll reunite them, but only if Mamie helps him make his debut film. Mamie's contribution to said project is the participation of her masseuse boyfriend Javier (Bobby Cannavale), pretending to be a gigolo for the sake of Nicky's awful excuse for a documentary.

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