Not Another Happy Ending is Karen Gillan‘s first movie since finishing Doctor Who, which brought her to the fore as Amy Pond.
Here, she plays struggling author Jane Lockhart, and finally, after squillions of rejection letters, her novel, “The Endless Anguish Of My Father” is to be put into print. Her publisher, Tom Duval (Stanley Weber) changes the title to “Happy Ending”, when that’s not at all what the book’s about, hence the title of the film, but word-of-mouth and publicity turns it into a hit and brings her long lost father back into her life.
There’s also a mysterious woman who keeps saying “Hi” to her as she crosses Jane’s path, but the mystery is soon revealed and the outcome comes across as half-baked as Jane starts getting writer’s block when composing her next novel. Meanwhile, Tom has a pissed-off companion in Anne Lefevre (Kate Dickie), and I couldn’t figure out whether that was because she was his ex-wife, accountant or something else. He calls her his “relationship manager” although I’ve no idea what that is.
What follows is predictable and doesn’t have any real sense of direction. The entire story could easily be told in the space of an hour, not something that’s getting on for two hours, especially when it ends up being a “which of the two men will she date” movie and it doesn’t make you care which way she jumps. It also attempts a twist late on the proceedings but you can spot the answer a mile off.
I very rarely review DVDs, since I have had a Blu-ray player since 2008 and watch films on a 50″ TV, so it was surprising that this film was *only* being released on DVD, given that Karen Gillan’s star is definitely on the ascendancy. As well as being a companion on Doctor Who, she is also due to appear in the forthcoming US horror film Oculus, and you can see the trailer here.
In addition, I couldn’t help but be drawn in the press release to Karen Gillan’s nude scene. Can’t think why…
That said, apart from a shot of her backside, when she’s standing front on, there’s always something like a lamp in the way, or as she turns, her hair discreetly and accidentally-on-purpose covers her nipples, so don’t buy this if you’re expecting to see anything revelatory.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical anamorphic widescreen ratio and looks as good as a DVD can do, although a Blu-ray release would’ve been better. Compared to a Blu-ray, the DVD looks a little soft, but other than that, there are no issues.
The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is fine for dialogue and incidental music, but for directional sound effects, there aren’t any. Well, other than one of the opening idents for one of the film’s production companies.
There’s only a smattering of extras:
- Interviews: Fairly perfunctory interviews with producer Claire Mundell (17:39), co-producer Wendy Griffin (8:51) and director John McKay (15:50). I’m sure it would be of more interest to fans of this film if cast members were interviewed as well.
- Theatrical Trailer (1:39): Presented in the theatrical 2.35:1 ratio.
The trailer and interviews are, oddly, each a chapter in the same ‘title’ on the DVD so when you’re watching one, you assume you can press ‘next chapter’ as if the piece you’re watching is chaptered. I’ve never seen this before in reviewing DVDs since they first came in, in 1998.
The menu mixed features pictures of the cast and a piece of the theme. There are no subtitles which is very amiss. Between Weber’s strong French accent and a lot of strong Scots accents in this film, one thing the DVD needs is subtitles!
When it comes to the chaptering, I feel one should come every five minutes on average. Kaleidoscope, like many other distributors, go for a low 12 however long the film. I would like them to increase this number.
Also, there are trailers before the main menu. These should go in the extras section. This disc has 3 trailers for other films. What are they? Not saying. Gah, I hate this practice! We are not in the age of rental video.
Not Another Happy Ending is out from February 10th 2014 on DVD.
Running time: 98 minutes
Released: February 10th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: John McKay
Producer: Claire Mundell
Screenplay: David Solomons
Music: Lorne Balfe
Jane Lockhart: Karen Gillan
Tom Duval: Stanley Weber
Willie: Henry Ian Cusick
Benny Lockhart: Gary Lewis
Roddy: Iain De Caestecker
Darsie: Amy Manson
Anne Lefevre: Kate Dickie
Nicola Ball: Freya Mavor
Mr. McLeish: John Bett
Dr. Klinsch: Louise Goodall
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.