You love a good shitty rom-com and you know it.

You’ve voluntarily waded through Meg Ryan’s nose-wrinkling in You’ve Got Mail. You’ve taken midnight sessions of Head Over Heels and still defend Freddie Prinze Jnr’s perfect, perfect face. And you’ve seen The Holiday. You have. If you’ve survived these, know how undeniably repugnant they truly are and have gone back for seconds, you’ll probably like this film.

Not your textbook romantic comedy generator, French director James Huth’s first few films Serial Lover and Lucky Luke were refreshingly dark and screwball. This time around however, Huth is a little less original, instead looking to our aforementioned terrible Hollywood rom-coms for his cues. As far as clichéd set-ups go, Happiness Never Comes Alone offers up every repulsive trick in the rom-com book: struggling musician falls for wealthy art dealer. He likes one night stands and has his mother do his laundry. She has three kids and goes jogging. After a scene The Holiday taught us was a ‘meet-cute’ (when the two leads stumble upon one another, love at first yadda yadda) they figure out love’s not a straight road etc. etc. kiss. Credits.

In this palatable romance, Sophie Marceau finds an unexpected strength in Leading Rom-Com Lady, after countless films as Action Bad Girl (The World Is Not Enough), Battered Wife (Arretez-Moi) and Ethereal Royal Babe (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Braveheart). Marceau shows convincing versatility next to Moroccan-French stand up comedian Gah Elmaleh, finding stable footing as leading man Sacha, who prides himself on his three traits: “No alarm clock, no wedding ring, no taxes.”

Instead of the quirky, genuinity seen in French rom-coms like Heartbreaker and Priceless, this film seemed predictable and a little half-baked. An unoriginal but indulgently enjoyable film, Happiness Never Comes Alone is a pleasant rom-com with no real surprises, sparked by moments of slapstick, an overabundance of Etta James and a tried and true formula finish.

** out of five stars


Happiness Never Comes Alone is in cinemas now.

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