Happy Endings (Don Roos). 118 minutes. Opens Friday (August 5). For venues and times, see Movies page 81. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
There's a disease sweeping through Hollywood called Altman Fever. Symptoms include: a) superfluous storylines and b) the deluded belief that dazzling acting will keep audiences from noticing. Judging by Happy Endings , its latest victim is director Don Roos . Here's a movie so overwhelmed by needless plot, even Roos admits he couldn't think of an ending for one of his many main characters.
Is there a theme? Well, there's concern with abortion and adoption, and everyone seems to have a juicy secret, but who can say, with so much peripheral plot in the way.
What we do know is that Roos can write, and that he knows how to pick 'em: Jesse Bradford , Bobby Cannavale , Laura Dern , Maggie Gyllenhaal , Steve Coogan , Jason Ritter , Tom Arnold and amazing Lisa Kudrow , miles away from Phoebe but still displaying those perfect comic skills while showing off equally impressive dramatic chops.
Too bad Roos bites off more than he can chew, inserting title cards - in lieu of narration - that give away everything from what kind of movie we're watching to whether a character is honest. Thanks, Don. Why should we use those pesky brains when you'll do the thinking for us?
The only happy ending here is for Kudrow. Now, this is a Comeback.