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Happiness (2001–2003)
Danny Spencer has created a monster… "a seven-foot tall Plasticine kung-fu nurse bear"!
2 May 2006
Please note: this review is based on Series One only as there is an episode from Series Two that I have not seen.

Happiness is the story of one man's journey into a mid-life crisis.

Series one opens on the day of the funeral of the wife of Danny Spencer (played by Paul Whitehouse), and we are quickly introduced to the main characters of the series, and their respective quirks.

Danny is a minor media celebrity through the popularity of his cartoon creation 'Dexter', but he feels that he deserves more recognition, and begins to resent the fact that the bear is more famous than him.

"I'm the voice of the bear! I created him!"

Even the guest celebrities who come to do voice-over parts for the show don't immediately recognise him.

The first series ends with Danny's fortieth birthday party - but he's gone and insulted all his closest friends and family in a (drunken) newspaper interview! In between we are treated to the gems of a pre-mid life crisis (plastic surgery; feelings of sexual inadequacy; regret over past relationships; etc.).

The supporting cast are of the highest calibre and include the cream of Britain's comic actors in the new millennium, and include: Fiona Allen; Mark Heap; Pearce Quigley; Clive Russell; Johnny Vegas.

With particular regard to Mr Vegas, I for one found his performance in this show to be a revelation.

For anyone interested in a deeper style of performance from Paul Whitehouse than we have previously seen in sketch shows like The Fast Show, I believe that Happiness places him amongst the best of British acting talent.
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Midnight Run (1988)
One of the best comedies I've ever seen - a real surprise!
17 December 2000
I first saw Midnight Run at a friends' as a rented video. He had mentioned it a few times to me before, and I had always dismissed the choice. When we eventually saw it, I realised the error of my ways.

The whole cast of the movie (which includes many less well known faces) play their parts superbly. Both of the lead actors - De Niro and Grodin are excelently matched. I can only assume that they had an absolute gas during the filming.

Smaller parts like the duo who run the bail bonds business are also perfectly cast - hound dog expressions a plenty! I think a special mention should be made for John Ashton, who plays Marvin Dorfler, the main rival bounty hunter to De Niro's character. He suffers endless humiliations and set backs in his quest for financial reward, but all through the film he exudes a loveable rougishness.

For me, Midnight Run proves that Robert De Niro is one of the world's most versatile actors, and is possibly peerless as such.

N.B: I have only watched unedited versions, with full profanity, etc. I can not comment on other versions mentioned in previous reviews.
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