Happy Endings. (R) Writer-director Don Roos' latest deserves its soft spot in our hearts for rescuing Tom Arnold from the why-are-they-now? scrap heap. As Frank, a widower who falls for his son's conniving would-be girlfriend (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Arnold is a revelation. Frank's kidding only himself, but he, like the other liars who populate the film, will emerge all right after all. Some, of course, will be more damaged than others, and there are plenty of folks left from which to choose -- among them Mamie (Lisa Kudrow), whose teenage sexual encounter with her stepbrother left her with a child no one knows about and whose whereabouts remain a secret even to her, and Nicky (Jesse Bradford), the aspiring documentarian who tries to blackmail Mamie. It's as though after making The Opposite of Sex, about the fine line between true love and double cross, Roos decided it wasn't enough to have one hypocrite or charlatan. But he loves his characters, which is what happens when an eternal optimist makes movies about misanthropes who desperately want to love and be loved. (Robert Wilonsky) HP
Wedding Crashers. (R) Reviewed in this issue.
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