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Set in present day New York City, "Happy Hour" is a literate and often funny story of love and how to receive it. Tulley, a once-promising literary star now biding his time as an advertising copy editor, moves from cynicism to acceptance as he secretly hopes to write a great novel only to learn that his life of booze will end all too soon. Levine, his best friend and Natalie, the woman who might have saved him, suffer the pain of Tulley's anger and rejection. Written by
After some time in the movie, Levine asks: "I don't suppose she has a sister", and Tulley answers: "Three brothers". The line: "I can't catch a break. What's her mother like?" was totally improvised. That's why Tulley almost chokes on the bourbon. See more »
"Happy Hour" is a well-acted but dated feeling portrait of an alcoholic.
Far less harrowing than addiction films from "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Lost Weekend" to "Permanent Midnight," writer/director Mike Bencivenga makes a heavy drinker and his enablers out to be genial wasters of talent until the physical ramifications become unavoidable.
Anthony LaPaglia is a charismatic alcoholic, if a mean supervisor at work, and we have to accept that is enough to justify the noble loyalty of a teacher he picks up in a bar and his best friend, a long-time co-worker. The triangle is also old-fashioned, barely hinting at the kinds of depths as are in "A Home at the End of the World." There's a brief mention in passing that his mother is also an alcoholic, but the friends seem to be social drinkers who were just keeping him company drink for drink, and can give it up at will and be inspired by LaPaglia's character to change their lives.
The voice-over narration is a bit "Sunset Boulevard"-ish, but is fit into the story line of the central character as a writer finishing his book.
Nice NYC touches: to have LaPaglia be a kind of Delbert McClinton in Mary Lou Lord's band and to have his dad, as played by Robert Vaughn, be part of a circle at The Algonquin that includes such noted commentators on heavy drinking as Pete Hamill and Steve Dunleavy.
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