Happy Ever Afters (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/03/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

Watchable romcom with engaging performances from the two leads and some nice moments, but the script is poorly developed and it never quite comes together.

What's it all about?
Directed by Stephen Burke, this Irish romcom stars Sally Hawkins as single mother Maura, who agrees to marry illegal immigrant Winston (Ariyon Bakare) because she desperately needs the money. Meanwhile, Freddie (Tom Riley) is remarrying his highly strung ex Sophie (Jade Yourell) in order to give their relationship another chance, but when the two wedding parties collide at the same hotel, Maura and Freddie find themselves increasingly drawn to each other.

The Good
Sally Hawkins is excellent as Maura, nailing the Irish accent and sparking some appealing chemistry with Riley. By contrast, Riley has a slightly harder job (romcoms almost always stumble when a character has to dump their existing partner for the female lead) and doesn't quite convince in the emotional scenes (there's a twist of sorts that backfires badly and should have been dropped) but he's a likeable actor, particularly in his scenes with Hawkins.

There's also strong support from Jade Yourell (who makes the best of her largely underwritten character) and from young Sinead Maguire as Maura's wisecracking daughter Molly, who basically steals every scene she's in and out-acts most of the adults.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the script is painfully under-developed; several sub-plots are introduced but none of them are paid off in a satisfactory manner. The worst example of this is with the supposedly super-officious immigration officers (David Pearse and Michael McElhatton) – there's a huge amount of build-up with them attending the wedding party in disguise and so on but when they finally interrogate Maura and Winston they ask the three easiest questions imaginable and leave it at that.

On top of that, none of the jokes really work (one decent sight gag aside) and the film is a little too over-reliant on slapstick, specifically slapstick that involves Riley getting punched in the face.

Worth seeing?
Happy Ever Afters is never less than watchable thanks to another strong performance from Sally Hawkins, but the script could have been a lot better with a few judicious rewrites.

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Content updated: 25/11/2017 00:19

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