Spencer Gorman | I can hit the Liberty Bell with a snowball | 12/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Happy Hour is an Indie ensemble piece shot in NYC. The film has a reasonably good script and is well acted especially by Anthony LaPaglia. Caroleen Feeney and Eric Stoltz also do a nice job as supporting cast in this depressing moral love story about a writer and his alcoholic downfall. The film boasts very black comedy and some nicely charged scenes as the three actors work very well together. Tully (LaPaglia) steals the show with one of his best overall performances. There is even a bit character part with Robert Vaughn who plays Tully's rich and successful father. All in all this is a good, not a great film. The chemistry between Tully and Natalie (Feeney) is at times intense and their attraction is believable. Stoltz who plays Levine, Tully's best friend does a fine job as well. I have always liked Eric Stoltz's laid back acting style and he is free to use this style in this script. All in all this is a moving story and also a depressing one. I did have some problems with this film. The writer/director Mike Bencivenga, found the need to use several cheap pranks performed by both Levine and Tully in their workplace to get laughs, although there is verbal sparring between a younger exceutive in the company and Tully, the use of of these cheap pranks doesn't really drive the story the way it could have. The raw downward spiral of Tully's health is the force that keeps you watching. Tully is a drunk, so finding tears for his demise is difficult. One is led to liking Tully's duo of friends and feels sorry for them and empathizes when Tully finaly dies. The film is not over at this point and we are left with more surprises. Lapaglia turns out a stunning performance and the film is wortth the effort if only to see his work.I am usually stingy when giving out stars and I thought possibly four and decided that this one is closer to THREE. If it will help you decide I could bump this up to 3.5 Stars. Bring your girlfriend this film is worthy of the couples experience. SG"