In Manhattan, the aspirant writer Jabez Stone is a complete loser: he is not able to sell his novels, he lives in a lousy apartment and he does not have success with women. When one of his friends Julius Jenson sells his novel for US$ 190,000.00 to an editor, Jabez fells envy and promises to sell his soul to the devil for success and accidentally kills a woman with his typing machine. The Devil knocks on his door, fixes the situation and seals a contract with Jabez. His low quality novels have bad reviews but become best-sellers; Jabez enriches; has success with women, but has no time for his friends. Jabez meets with the publisher Daniel Webster who offers him a chance to break the contract with the devil. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Long known as "The Devil & Daniel Webster" the films title was changed to "Shortcut to Happiness" after being acquired by Bob Yari productions. See more »
While showing Jabez his new apartment, the Realtor says Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas" there. In fact, the song was written while sitting at the pool at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona in 1940. See more »
And so it was that the chariot of the devil smote down Jensen. You see, Jensen was a loose end. And the devil doesn't like loose ends, if you know what I mean.
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Smarmy, tasteless, trendily cynical rewrite of "The Devil and Daniel Webster"
Struggling novelist, unable to get anything published much less an actual audience to read his work, enters into a pact with a comely female Satan: fame and fortune in exchange for his immortal soul. Archibald Macleish's play "Scratch" becomes an updating of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (filmed in 1941, with a panicked farmer as the tempted central figure); producer-director Alec Baldwin portrays the leading character opposite a terrific supporting cast, including Anthony Hopkins as lawyer Daniel Webster and Jennifer Love Hewitt as the Devil. Unfortunately, the movie was edited against Baldwin's wishes after sitting on the shelf for years, debuting on the Starz television network in 2007 after some brief theatrical bookings. It begins well but quickly loses its footing once Baldwin's writer gains the success he so desired, turning the picture into a yuppie treatise on the old money-can't-buy-happiness ploy. The filmmakers are so out-of-touch, they don't even consider the fact that maybe some of the writer's needs ARE fulfilled by his newfound celebrity. Instead, he turns into a sad sack with money in the bank and women at his feet--clearly not something struggling writers in real-life can identify with. Worse, there's never a moment when this man's heart is actually detectable; Baldwin is so callow an actor (not to mention as the director) that all we perceive are his handsome, unmodulated externals. He purses his lips and gazes intently at the camera, hoping to smolder, while viewers lose track of the character's roots. The final courtroom battle is well-played, though so much of the writing is smarmy, and executed without style, that the overall results are distinctly unsatisfactory. *1/2 from ****
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