Not Another Happy Ending
A slight but colourful romcom starring Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber
Scottish cinema is not customarily accused of being overburdened with eye candy, but EIFF’s Closing Night film has it in shovelloads. Playing successful but blocked Scottish novelist Jane and her impatient publisher Tom, gorgeous lead performers Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber skip around enviably-kitted out offices and apartments, wearing outfits of carefully-co-ordinated fabulousness and rocking (in Gillan’s case at least) cute-coloured manicures. Crisply lovely cinematography by George Geddes and an upbeat soundtrack add to the film’s airy, merry vibe. Gillan’s quite a delight, too – more a gawky, clever inheritor of Diane Keaton than a bland romcom cupcake in the Meg Ryan mould.
The film does have its problems, however. Weber has clearly been cast because he is perhaps the most beautiful man in the world, and not because he is remotely right for his part: a sour-tempered, socially Scottish intellectual just isn’t a good fit for a catwalk-tousled, French–accented superhunk. And while it’s fun how the story re-imagines Scotland as a hotbed of big-money publishing, complete with homegrown bestsellers and a glitzy 'Scottish Fiction Awards', other elements of the story feel thinly worked-out. Gillan’s character is meant to be trapped in her traumatic past and prone to 'worshiping her pain', but this introspection doesn’t come across onscreen, and her supposedly fraught relationship with her father (Gary Lewis) fails to ring true. A plot point about a pub quiz doesn’t work because we never see the quiz being played – no tension around it has developed at the point when we are suddenly required to care about it intensely – and a gimmick whereby Jane keeps running into the protagonist of her stalled novel feels (despite a nice turn by another ravishing actress, Amy Manson, in the role) as if it should either have been more central or not there at all. Lightness in a romcom is all to the good, but this one – for all its charm – could have used just a little more plot ballast.
Screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013.