In Manhattan, ambitious writer Jabez Stone (Producer and Director Alec Baldwin) is a complete loser. He is not able to sell his novels, he lives in an awful apartment and he does not have success with women. When one of his friends, Julius Jensen (Dan Aykroyd), sells his novel for one hundred ninety thousand dollars to an editor, Jabez feels envious and promises to sell his soul to the devil for success and accidentally kills a woman with his typing machine. The Devil (Jennifer Love Hewitt) 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 publisher Daniel Webster (Sir Anthony Hopkins) 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 and Daniel Webster", the film's title was changed to "Shortcut to Happiness" after being acquired by Bob Yari productions and being heavily re-edited. See more »
When buying the house, Jabez Stone sees the Devil on the beach. He runs to her with his shirt's collar over his jacket. But when he is there and talks to the Devil the collar is carefully tucked under. See more »
I saw this film at the Venice Film Festival and have waited a long time to comment on it as I wanted to see it again when I was released. However, it still has not come out and I don't know if it ever will.
Alec Baldwin is a writer, down on his luck and nowhere to go but down even further.
As with many viewers I suspect, I was attracted to this film by the cast and the fact that it has received so much press, good and bad. The plot is based on the old casino idea of a writer whose career in next to nil and is getting ready to self destruct and unless you get into it, it'll feel rather forced and silly at times.
However the film helped me to overcome this by being very low key and downbeat very much like Baldwin himself. The film is not a great thing but one that is easy to get into. The film uses Las Vegas really well but it is a classic story that is fun to believe in. It is much better than the fun, breezy and slick fantasies that we are sold in other films. The mix of romance, comedy and violence works very well at points it was very touching, at others quite funny.
It isn't perfect of course and the writing is where the problems lie; the story did rely on the audience buying into it and at times the dialogue comes very close to corn (but just misses). The only time I felt really let down was the ending, which, although fitting with the spirit of the film, missed a great chance to be fun, exciting and original all at the same time.
Still, a good film and definitely worth the watching.
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