EIFF film review: Not Another Happy Ending

Karen Gillan in Not Another Happy Ending. Picture: contributed
Karen Gillan in Not Another Happy Ending. Picture: contributed
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IT ALWAYS seemed as if the Edinburgh International Film Festival might be tempting fate a little when the announcement was made that Scottish romcom Not Another Happy Ending would close this year’s event – and so it proves.

Not Another Happy Ending

Edinburgh International Film Festival, Cineworld Edinburgh

* (1/5)

A weird amalgam of broad-strokes comedy and try-hard kookiness, the Glasgow-set film, about a writer’s block-plagued novelist (Karen Gillan) struggling to finish her second book, barely works on any level.

The problem isn’t so much with the premise (recycled though it is), but with the execution. An over-reliance on montage, a messily-structured screenplay, a lack of chemistry between the leads, and a hodge-podge of random-seeming creative flourishes conspire with the film’s general lack of believability to make the characters seem not so much off the wall, as completely demented.

Unfortunately, Gillan comes off the worst in this respect. Wandering around Glasgow dressed like a hipster droog (her wardrobe is more A Clockwork Orange than Annie Hall), her character, Jane, is such a baffling mass of neuroses it’s hard to empathise with her plight.

It doesn’t help that the romantic friction that supposedly exists between Jane and her twerp of an editor, played by Stanley Weber, (who thinks she’s too happy to finish her book so takes to covertly sabotaging her life) fails to come across on screen – or that she’s also saddled with a honking and incompetently handled subplot involving her estranged father (played by Gary Lewis).

Indeed, save for the way the cinematography manages to reflect an artier, more romantic side of Glasgow, almost nothing about this film rings true. Which is a shame, because there’s no reason why an offbeat romcom shouldn’t work in Scotland, particularly given the influence of Bill Forysth on the kind of whimsical American indie films (500 Days of Summer especially) that the makers of this presumably had their eye on. What a dispiriting way to end the festival.

• Festival Theatre, tomorrow, 8:45pm