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Happy Endings (Widescreen Special Edition)

3.5 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lisa Kudrow, Laura Dern, Tom Arnold. A diverse group of mostly middle-class Americans experience a number of emotional ups and downs in their flawed yet realistic lives, each loosely connected to each other through a restaurant. A witty look at love, family and life. 2005/color/128 min/R/widescreen.


"It's a comedy, sort of," a title card announces at the start of Happy Endings--just after Mamie (Lisa Kudrow) has been hit by a car. So it is, but talk about an unhappy beginning! Never fear, writer/director Don Roos will fulfill the promise of that title in several unexpected ways. The story then flashes back to 1983 for Mamie's life-altering encounter with her stepbrother. Mamie and Charley (Steve Coogan) will struggle with its consequences for the rest of the film. Does her teen pregnancy explain the fact that she became an abortion counselor or that he came out of the closet? Roos doesn't say, but nor does he judge. He loves his characters--foibles and all--in his ambitious, Altman-esque follow-up to the acerbic, yet heartfelt The Opposite of Sex. As before, Kudrow is the center around which the other plotlines revolve (and her uptight, yet likable Mamie couldn't resemble TV’s Phoebe less). In the end, though, Maggie Gyllenhaal's seductive Jude and Tom Arnold's sensitive Frank are Roos' most inspired creations. Their relationship is one of contemporary cinema's oddest and most touching. The happy ending for one will be real, the other imaginary, but everyone will earn the one they get. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • A making-of featurette
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes (with optional commentary)
  • A montage
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale
  • Directors: Don Roos
  • Writers: Don Roos
  • Producers: Ali Forman, Bobby Cohen, Donna Sloan, Holly Wiersma, Jon Kuyper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BB18L8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,112 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Happy Endings (Widescreen Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Morris on November 13, 2005
Format: DVD
Having tremendously enjoyed Don Roos' previous effort, the Opposite of Sex, I snapped up Happy Endings upon release of the DVD without knowing anything about it. Many of my friends didn't liked the Opposite of Sex; when I asked them why, each confessed a dislike of Lisa Kudrow. When I noticed she was also in the cast of Happy Endings, and in fact plays one of the main characters, I figured I'd better shut up about mentioning my latest acquisition to some of those friends until I had a chance to watch it. Watch it I did, and I have nothing but good things to report.

Like the Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings revolves around several gay and straight characters, with enough attention paid to both, thus ensuring that the film could appeal to a mixed audience. There is where all similarities end. While Opposite of Sex had a relatively up-front and focused plot, Happy Endings manages to juggle several plots and subplots all at once. Each of the characters lives touch other characters lives in a style not unlike that of director Robert Altman. In fact, I kept thinking that the pacing and juggling of the subplots was somewhat similar to Short Cuts, or even Crash (in the way that Crash was also compared to Altman's style). Keeping everyone sorted out in my mind became something of a chore, but I generally like films that make you think and keep you on your toes. There were one or two surprises, including several totally unexpected plot twists, and that's always good too. As a comedy I didn't laugh so much as I smiled, and I asked myself more than once, "I wonder what will happen next". As the end credits were rolling I decided I enjoyed my visit with these people, and could easily have managed to sit though even more. How often do you hear that about a movie that runs over two hours?
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Format: DVD
I thought that "Happy Endings" contained a lot of worthy elements. That I nonetheless loathed this movie shows just how greatly it failed on every other level.

As has been outlined in other reviews, "Happy Endings" contains a number of interwoven stories, including: a mother searching for the son she gave up for adoption many years prior (*and* her Mexican masseuse/lover *and* the zany would-be documentarian who is a.) blackmailing her and b.) hoping to film her search for the now-grown child), a gay couple who is questioning the paternity of their lesbian friends' young son, and a naughty young wannabe singer who seduces a gay drummer in order to get closer to his wealthy father.

This doesn't just *seem* like a lot of story for one film ... it is a lot of story for one film. And it doesn't help that writer/director Don Roos' script is incessantly bouncy. We are thrown in and pulled out of these tangent plots without ever having a chance to develop an affection for the characters or any sympathy for their plights. Of course, some filmmakers are able to successfully weave different stories together (Altman, for an obvious example) ... so the problem with "Happy Endings" is greater than its jerky and complex storyline. The real problem is that I couldn't care less about (most of) the characters.

Another thing I very much disliked about this film was its use of narrative captions. People say that voice-over is the mark of a lazy writer. If that's true, then captions are the mark of a VERY lazy writer. And they just plain did not work well with this movie. Every time I found myself feeling somewhat absorbed by the story, Roos would throw out a "witty" and ironic caption that jerked me back to reality.
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Format: DVD
I have to say that `Happy Endings' will go down as one of the most fulfilling experiences I've had with cinema this year. At the film's closing I was left content and approving, never once feeling gypped or left wanting. I was completely satisfied, which is funny because I've read a few reviews where people loved everything but the ending, but to me you can't go wrong ending on a close-up of the wonderfully talented Maggie Gyllenhaal singing us a lullaby.

`Happy Endings' (a title made in reference to the act of making a massage customer EXTRA happy) is a collage of people's lives interacting and eventually coming together for a `happy ending'. We have Mamie (Kudrow) who at a young age was impregnated by her step-brother Charley (Coogan) and since then they've had very little contact. Charley is now `out of the closet' and living with is boyfriend Gil (Sutcliffe) whose best friend Pam (Dern) and her lover Diane (Clarke) have just had a son (Pam being the mother) and are starting to ware on Charley's sanity. Mamie on the other hand is involved with massage therapist Javier (Cannavale) and is not the slightest bit happy with her life, and that only gets worse after meeting Nicky (Bradford) who claims to know where her illegitimate son (the one she had with Charley and then gave up for adoption) is and wants to reunite them under the circumstance that he can film it for his documentary submission into film school.

Then we have Jude (Gyllenhaal), a young attractive floozy who joins a band fronted by Otis (Ritter), a young boy confused about his sexuality and somewhat obsessed with his boss (Charley).
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