“In A Summer Of Special Effects And Explosions, This Is The Film With Heart.”
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
Trouble is, every character in Roos' universe plays at having problems in a homo-hetero-Angeleno world but lacks substance, each little more than a composite of quirks and one-liners.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
The writer and director Don Roos's slyly subversive ensemble piece is a drama disguised as a wisp of a comedy.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Happy Endings, its interwoven stories exploring the consequences of sex and the ramifications of procreation, is mildly thought-provoking without using heavy-handed commentary.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Complicated? Yes. Potentially heavy? Sure. But it's also highly engrossing and, in a dark way, ultimately rather sweet.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
What's so splendid about Happy Endings is the very fact that it fits into no genre whatsoever and at no time while watching it can you say, oh, probably this is going to happen.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
As tidily and 'happily' as this movie winds up, it seems like a draft for a project Roos is still working out.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Roos forecasts and explains every development with a title card, a device not unlike having someone yammering in your ear throughout the entire feature run time.
Ben Kenigsberg - Village Voice
Roos' stories eventually overlap in a tangle of pat fairy-tale endings, after which he treats his characters to the sort of wrap party given to the casts of a beloved TV series that has just finished its last episode.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
- Houston Chronicle
Mr. Roos obviously enjoys directing actors and knows how to relate to them. But Happy Endings suggests he needs a stronger touch when it comes to his own self-indulgence as writer and director.
Philip Wuntch - Dallas Morning News
Heartfelt but dark comedy.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Happy Endings maintains a certain level of intrigue, and occasionally bursts into life.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Roos does an admirable job balancing the tragedy and comedy.
Allison Benedikt - Chicago Tribune
It's a challenge to keep up with the multiple character studies and story lines, which are braided, tangled and teased. But the performances are exceptional.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Disjointed indie comic drama.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
You get the feeling a script is a bit beyond itself when words constantly appear on the screen explaining biographies, plot twists and such, and Roos depends on a constant parade of such explanations in Happy Endings.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Intriguing but overlong and indulgent, the work of a writer too in love with his characters.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
Serves as a relaunching pad for the magical talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jude.
Andrew Sarris - New York Observer
The narrative sprawls without achieving depth and carries the additional burden of featuring only two or three interesting characters out of 10 candidates.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
It's hard to dislike Don Roos' Magnolia-inspired triptych of interconnected comic tales about lies, sex and video.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Roos's movie is so aggressively pleased with itself it leaves you feeling it doesn't even need an audience.
Geoff Pevere - Toronto Star
[It] feels like Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia for adolescents.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Happy Endings is the kind of self-conscious puzzle picture in which characters behave in ways that serve the plot but in no way resemble things that actual human beings would be likely to do.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
The film isn't engaging enough to hold the average viewer's attention for its full two-plus hour running length.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
- Hollywood Reporter
The film rambles, but rambling with the mischievous Roos is still a tricky and winning proposition.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
As bawdy, self-conscious, jaded and still sweetly optimistic as its double-entendre of a title suggests.
Carina Chocano - Los Angeles Times
The drama never feels more than a well-shot TV soap. Worse is Roos' tragic insistence on text inserts to explain every motivation, making the whole thing look like a fatal cross between Queer As Folk and VH1's Pop Up Video.
Luke Goodsell - Empire Magazine Australasia
Potent social satire mixes with multiple characters incapable of telling the truth, especially to themselves, in writer/director Don Roos' enjoyable comedy of deception and dysfunction.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Bob Mondello - NPR.org
There's a little fanciful magic to spread over this flighty romance on the run, or at least enough to take that hackneyed notion of the happy ending, and fashion something fresh and new.
Prairie Miller - Long Island Press
Dave Calhoun - Time Out New York
Rarely has a film started so brilliantly and then so willfully shot itself directly in the foot.
David Noh - Film Journal International
Jonathan Kiefer - Sacramento News & Review
- Empire Magazine
- Sydney Morning Herald
A quirky and often enjoyable film about dysfunctional relationships, Happy Endings brings together separate stories about complicated characters who are all trying to deal with the truth.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
- Time Out
- Film Threat
The cast is a who's who, a who's not, and a who might one day be; they're the best part of a picture that is unnecessarily complex.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Happy Endings is two-thirds of a really good film.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
- AV Club
The most satisfying film of the year.
Todd Gilchrist - IGN Movies
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
An unsuccessful attempt is made to tie all these loose threads together into one coherent story.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
...an uneven, sometimes rambling journey that elicits mostly false emotion with regard to the payoff suggested by its title.
Todd Jorgenson - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
Lisa Kudrow's sporting serious brown hair. Tom Arnold's wearing a rare dramatic frown. So we know Happy Endings isn't likely to be a frivolous comedy.
Larry Ratliff - San Antonio Express-News
...although it's generally entertaining throughout, Happy Endings just doesn't have the emotional impact that Roos is clearly striving for.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Brian Marder - Hollywood.com
Roos does better at imparting a sense of the striving that's inherent to L.A., letting us know, through the characters' living situations, that not everyone shares in the town's magic.
Carla Meyer - Sacramento Bee
It isn't quite right to call Happy Endings a comedy, although the film does have plenty of dark humour. It's more of an urban fairy tale, and a positive urban fairy tale about the pursuit of love.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Even more cynical than the characters in Happy Endings is how Roos treats them in the final reel.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Overstuffed with characters and contrivances.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Having whipped up three basic story ideas, any one of which could be the basis of a decent feature, Roos throws them all in together and gussies them up with preposterous complications.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
[Roos']s writing is facile--he needs actors like Kudrow and Gyllenhaal to give his work depth and texture, and he seems to sense it without jealousy.
Alan Dale - Blogcritics.org
Unabashedly sentimental (cheekily couched in a black-comic guise), with Roos acting as a sort of benevolent god over his characters.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Like the pilot for a pretentious HBO 'dramedy' that expects us to contemplate its significance during the silences that broadcast television would fill with a laugh track.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Director Roos has way too many balls in the air here. The film is long and the multiple plots distracting.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Entertainment Insiders
Roos creates a slate of interesting characters who find themselves in unexpected situations that lead to realistic -- and in their own way, happy -- endings.
Jeremy Mathews - Film Threat
- Boston Phoenix
It's easy to guess everything that happens long before it does, and the 'shocking' secrets are anything but.
Paul Doro - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
[S]ing[s] with truths about how we define love today and why we embrace chaos over order in personal relationships...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Watching a film by Roos is like being locked in a room for two hours with people you loathe.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
- Baltimore Sun
Hanh Nguyen - Zap2it.com
Contrived and complicated - yet compelling - it's all about the search for contentment as lonely souls connect.
Susan Granger - Modamag.com
Roos' long and uneven adult comedy happily offers another captivating performance by Gyllenhaal, who purrs as a kittenish vixen.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
This tops my short list of 2005's best films thus far.
Todd Gilchrist - FilmStew.com
It's a shallow, cruddy-looking film that these fine actors have granted a depth it frankly doesn't deserve.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
The surface smoothness can't make up for the deeper flaws...fails signally in establishing any solid emotional connection with most of the people it portrays.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Worthwhile for the three leads (Kudrow, Gyllenhaal, and Coogan) and for Roos's unique perspectives as a storyteller, close captioned for cognitively impaired.
Carlo Cavagna - AboutFilm.com
What "Happy Endings" really needs is more Maggie.
Marcy Dermansky - About.com
Writer/director Don Roos has fashioned a funny though sometimes bleak and cynical black comedy, with multiple storylines that sometimes connect in jarring fashion.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
Although all actors are plausible in their respective roles, Gyllenhaal's Jude is the only one that is provided with enough dimensionality to keep things interesting.
Francesca Dinglasan - Boxoffice Magazine
Happy Endings, like its characters, is an ambitious, if flawed, work, but there is also a touching soulful quality that cannot be denied and cannot be faked.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
[A] comedic exercise that has its share of contrived moments but comes together as an entertaining, omnibus acting vehicle.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The film is a curious mixture of acid-etched black comedy and sentiment that lacks sufficient dramatic and emotional credibility.
Timothy Knight - Reel.com
The serious stuff cancels out the funny stuff, and the funny stuff really isn't all that funny to begin with.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
I enjoyed the journey, but I was ready to get to the ending. You can wait to catch this one on video.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
In essence, the film is a darkly comic take on the well-worn saying, you can't always get what you want.
- E! Online
An intricate ensemble comedy about sex, lies and reproduction, has some messy spots, but overall it's a warm, quirky story about people who seem spiky and real.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
There is a contrived aspect to a lot of the action. But Roos' insights into parenting, friendship and, of course, love, more than make up for the sometimes forced path that leads to them.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
The movie hums along on the strength of its smart, intricate plot and the performances.
Mary F. Pols - Contra Costa Times
A few nice performances and a script full of novelties with a human feel make it worth seeing.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Happy Endings needed much more than the intricacies of styling gel to explore the heart of its characters.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
Happy Endings begins with what seems quite an unhappy ending, when Mamie (Lisa Kudrow) is hit by a car.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Happy Endings has nothing new to say -- and takes way too long not to say it.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
Extremely pleasurable and well worth seeing.
Ruthe Stein - San Francisco Chronicle
There's something compelling about Happy Endings and something unexpectedly sweet.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Roos' sly, throwaway insights into the ways people deceive and undermine themselves are both ruefully funny and painfully on the mark.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
A warm and vital homage to urban cluelessness.
Ella Taylor - L.A. Weekly
Genuinely clever and very funny, and all the joking around serves to distract from what is actually an uneven, often absurd series of storylines.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Swift, multi-layered story-telling.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
a quieter, less uproarious sort of film than Sex, less intent on smashing conventions of morality and narrative, though likely it will age much better with time
Chris Barsanti - Filmcritic.com
Lithe, clever, thoughtful, well-acted and certainly entertaining.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It will make at least some of us feel happy to be alive, to be a person who is flawed and intolerable and perfectly fabulous just the same.
Phoebe Flowers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The Opposite of Sex's writer-director returns with another sharp, smart look at sex, love and life in L.A.
James Rocchi - Netflix
The best asset is first-rate acting; the worst liability is Roos's overuse of cinematic gimmicks.
David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor
Satisfying dramedy with an artery blocked heart.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
Roos has a gift weaving good laughs out of human failings and frailties.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
Marking time until Roos gets tired of spinning his webs of astringent, pithy, smug little nothings.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
There is intermittent charm in the execution and, especially, in the performances.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
Secrets and lies laid bare by a strong cast make Roos' happy endings cathartic and reassuring.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
In a season of overpriced cookie-cutter movies that underestimate their audience, the ambition and intelligence of Roos' film is a happy outcome indeed.
Frank Houston - Palm Beach Daily News
Even more irritating than the film's third act triumphs is its lack of faith in moviegoers' intelligence.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
Overlong, largely because of supernumerary characters.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
I enjoyed HAPPY ENDINGS, despite the fact that it uses several narrative devices I hope never to see in indie movies again for some time.
Luke Y. Thompson - LYTRules.com
Rambling, overlong, and diffuse, Roos' comedy tries to tackle contempo alternate lifestyles that Hollywood romantic comedies neglect.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Roos, as a writer, has a flair for comedy, but he could do with someone else on board as director to rein him in.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film