The transition from Dr. Who to the big screen hasn’t come easy for many. Even the normally unconquerable David Tennant has struggled to make any real impact in the world of movies. None of that has dissuaded Karen Gillan however, who makes her first big post Who appearance in Not Another Happy Ending a film which came to life due to crowd funding through Indiegogo.
Coming under the direction of John McKay, who’s also probably more famous for his TV work having directed episodes of Robin Hood and Life on Mars, Not Another… follows Jane Lockheart (Karen Gillan) as she attempts to follow up on her acclaimed debut novel Happy Endings, a tale based on her destructive relationship with her father. Unfortunately she faces the thing that writers all fear the most, writers block, which inspires her publisher (come love interest), who she has fallen out with over the title of her first novel, early in the film, Tom Duvall (Stanley Weber), to attempt to make her now happy life miserable again in an effort to inspire creativity. While this is going on she also attempts to rebuild her relationship with her father and deal with the character of her latest novel coming to life and stalking her every move. All of this creates the idea that you are actually watching several different movies rammed into one and doesn’t allow you to really connect with the story. It’s just a bit too complicated for a romantic comedy.
The whole film is set in Glasgow but unlike recent releases Filth and Sunshine on Leith never feels truly Scottish, with only the accents doing anything to make the landscape surrounding them feel different from any other major city in the world. On the other hand though Gillan herself is still a captivating screen presence and plays the role of the slightly quirky Lockheart well, while also adding a emotional level to it that makes her more than just a two dimensional character. Sadly the same can’t be said for Stanley Weber who seems to have had one long bad day at the office as he puts in a clunky uninspiring performance as Tom. While the supporting cast ably do their job with Gary Lewis performing his standard role as the emotionally unattached father as well as he ever has.
Not Another Happy Ending has some nice moments and a few good performances but ultimately is let down by an over complex story and some bad acting. It does however suggest that Karen Gillan may be able to buck the trend and make the step up from being sidekick to everyone’s favourite time travelling physician to the big screen. Ultimately however it will be more remembered for being one of her first post-Who films than it will anything else.