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Happiness Never Comes Alone

Film & TV

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If true love ran smooth, there would be no movies like Happiness Never Comes Alone or, for that matter, any love stories at all. Every tale of love needs a few small obstacles, some moments of doubt, and one major “this is never going to work” crisis, otherwise there is nothing significant to entertain an audience. These ingredients are all present when bachelor Sacha (Gad Elmaleh) meets Charlotte (Sophie Marceau) and has his life turned on its head.

On the one hand we have a piano player with a job writing advertising jingles who frequents nightclubs and seduces women, but who lives constantly in the shadow of his late, much-loved composer father. He hates commitment, and kids. On the other hand, we have a sophisticated career woman beholden to her estranged and very wealthy second husband. She has three kids, albeit with a nanny helping out. What could go wrong?

The film is saved from predictable plotting by the charms of its key actors and supporting cast, and by a script that balances pratfalls with wry humour. Indeed, Elmaleh and Marceau are so engaging as comic actors that the romantic element sometimes takes a back seat. Their physicality and timing is crucial to many of the biggest laughs and to the whole notion of farce that underpins the movie.

Nonetheless, this is about love and we need a situation to play out the progress of their relationship. Sacha’s mother is thrilled that he has found a mature woman at last, but that is not enough. After some tension and a couple of major misunderstandings, it comes down to whether Sacha will pursue his dream of mounting a Broadway show and turn his back on Charlotte when she spurns him.

Directed by James Huth, Happiness Never Comes Alone was filmed in Paris and New York, and features a few well-chosen blues and jazz tunes. Even if this “will they/won’t they” story in the older Hollywood mode won’t surprise most moviegoers, it is easy on the eye and there is no substitute for a laugh … especially from two consummate actors.


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