Happy Endings is a 2005 American film written and directed by Don Roos and starring Tom Arnold, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Steve Coogan, Laura Dern, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow and Jason Ritter.
The expression "happy ending" is a colloquial term for offering sexual release to a client at the end of a massage.
The film follows a diverse group of mostly middle-class Los Angelenos through the emotional ups and downs in their flawed yet very human lives, each loosely connected to each other through a restaurant.
In the first story, Mamie (Lisa Kudrow) reluctantly agrees to work with a would-be young filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) in order to locate the now grown son she secretly gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant from her stepbrother Charley (Steve Coogan) – who is later revealed to be gay – 19 years earlier.
In the second story arc, her stepbrother, and his domestic partner, Gil (David Sutcliffe), are deciding whether or not to confront their friends, a lesbian couple (Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke), regarding the paternity of their son.
And in the third, a young man, Otis (Jason Ritter), is involved with a band and trying to keep his father, Frank (Tom Arnold), from learning that he is gay, while also dealing with the seemingly gold-digging woman, Jude (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who inserts herself into their lives.
Director Don Roos wrote the part of Mamie expressly for Lisa Kudrow after directing her in his earlier film, The Opposite of Sex, which he also wrote. Originally, the story concerned three sisters. Maggie Gyllenhaal was not the first choice to play Jude. Gwyneth Paltrow was originally slated to play the part. Gyllenhaal does her own singing in the film. Ray Liotta turned down the role of Frank McKee.
It took 18 months to find financial backing for the production.
Happy Endings received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 54% rating from 106 critics.
Awards and honors
Happy Endings received nominations for:2006 Independent Spirit Award for "Best Supporting Female" – Maggie Gyllenhaal2005 Satellite Awardsfor "Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical" – Tom Arnoldfor "Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical" – Steve Cooganfor "Outstanding Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical"for "Outstanding Screenplay, Original" – Don Roos