Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Endings (1983) TV Movie

Published: March 1, 1983

IN "Happy Endings," tonight's television movie on CBS at 9, John Schneider plays an aspiring writer named Nick Callohan. You know he is a writer because his San Francisco apartment is decorated with poster-size photographs of D.H. Lawrence, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the like. He also sits intensely before a typewriter, ripping out and crumbling sheets of nearly blank paper. Otherwise, Nick is just your average ninny, always turning everything into a joke.

Christopher Canaan's script has Nick on the rebound from an affair with Veronica (Ana Alicia), an attorney who has found another and presumably less aggressively boyish man. Meanwhile, Nick's new neighbor is Lisa, who is just leaving her passionate but sometimes physically abusive husband. Lisa is played by Catherine Hicks with the kind of aggressive perkiness that became the hallmark of a Sandy Duncan performance.

It doesn't require a road map to figure out where the relationship between Nick and Lisa is headed. It's simply a matter of how long the movie takes to get there, and that adds up to two rather long hours. In the beginning, the two neighbors go through a series of cute encounters as, practically ignoring each other, they recount their separate affairs. Gradually, they realize that they may have something going for themselves. But a series of misunderstanding and unfortunate timings keeps them apart with what eventually becomes irritating calculation.

Mr. Schneider sports a mustache and a series of fetching hats, evidently in an effort to shake the down-home, good-old-boy image he has developed on the series "The Dukes of Hazzard." In fact, he displays a rather appealing talent for light comedy, as he did earlier in a television movie called "Dream House." Miss Hicks, who played Marilyn Monroe in "Marilyn: The Untold Story," is at her best when the perky switch is set on low. Incidentally, the film, directed by Noel Black, was produced by Carol Caruso for Motown Productions, an affiliate of the recording company. Several songs are included and, not just by chance, Lisa is supposed to be an aspiring cabaret singer. Miss Hicks does her own singing, quite capably, on one of the numbers.

Happy Endings (1983) TV Movie
Cast: Ana Alicia, Bibi Osterwald, Catherine Hicks, John Schneider, Joseph Hacker, Matthew Faison

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