Parents' Guide to

Happy Endings

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Very mature relationship comedy isn't for kids.

Movie R 2005 128 minutes
Happy Endings Poster Image

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Much like director Don Roos' other films, this so-so film features eccentric characters trying to construct stories for themselves, particularly stories that will make them feel happy. The movie's interest in storytelling -- as a way to order experience or engender emotions -- is at once formal (as split screens offer textual commentary on events and characters) and thematic (the characters lie to one another and themselves).

Jude provides a second framing device, alongside the textual comments. When she first sings for Otis, she's angry at another boy, a cheater, and performs Billy Joel's "Honesty," plaintively. At film's end, when the stories seem resolved -- Mamie's been hit by the car, Charley and Gil have faced a calamity, and Frank has proposed to Jude and then discovered her deceit -- Jude sings again, now set apart from the other characters, rejected and moved on to another town. In another, unidentified space, she sings another Joel anthem, "Just the Way You Are." Here, she just seems sad, far from her own desired ending.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 15, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming: November 15, 2005
  • Cast: Lisa Kudrow , Maggie Gyllenhaal , Steve Coogan
  • Director: Don Roos
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 128 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: sexual content, language and some drug use
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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