John McKay’s Not Another Happy Ending (2013) is a breezy and harmless if ultimately forgettable romantic comedy set in and around the city of Glasgow. Jane (former Doctor Who star Karen Gillan), a struggling novelist, finds herself thrust into the limelight when her first novel, a memoir about the trails of her own family, becomes an overnight success. With her newfound status, her life sees improvement. Not only does she fall in love with screenwriter Willie (Henry Ian Cusick), but she also starts to reconnect with her estranged father. All this, however, has a negative effect on her ability to complete her sophomore novel.
Thus, Jane’s loyal publisher Tom (Stanley Weber) and his assistant Roddy (Iain De Caestecker, in the film’s funniest role) sets about to diminish this fresh wave of romantic positivity. Boasting a moderately good premise that both embraces and satirises the well-worn clichés of the rom-com genre, Not Another Happy Ending does a commendable job in keeping its audiences entertained to a sufficient degree from start to finish. David Solomons’ screenplay hardly pushes any boundaries, but there’s nothing empirically bad here, and the sub-plot involving Jane’s relationship with her father is handled with care. It’s main problem in truth stems from the fact that Gillan and Webber have no spark between them whatsoever.
Due to the fact that Not Another Happy Ending is hinged so much on the pair’s will they/won’t they antics, everything else from sub-plots to ancillary characters feels like filler, with Solomons throwing in increasingly absurd disturbances to further prolong their eventual hookup. That’s not to take anything away from Gillan herself, who gives her all and is all the more likeable because of it. The Glasgow cityscapes are also captured well, and George Cameron Geddes awards the film much warmth and colour through his cinematography. It’s just a shame that what’s underneath isn’t anywhere near as attention-grabbing.