Happy New Year (1987)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Caper, Crime Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 7, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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It's hardly a masterpiece, but Happy New Year certainly deserved a better reception than it received upon its initial release. Happy is a heist caper comedy, and it's no classic, but it is an engaging little film whose modest charms will please many who stumble upon it late at night on TV or tucked away in the corner of their local video emporium. The screenplay to Happy is merely serviceable, but it does include a few imaginative assets. Chief among these is making the crooks in question not in the prime of their lives, which has certainly been done before but not so frequently, and in allowing Peter Falk's character to create two other (even older) characters , one of which is a woman -- again, it's been done before, but it pays dividends here. This is largely due to Falk's wonderful performance. It's the kind of part Falk does marvelously, bumbling but sly, confusing but charming, and his considerable comic skills are at their peak here. The actor grabs hold of the film and never lets it go, which is saying something considering that the very able Charles Durning is also in the picture, giving it everything he's got as well. And that's not even mentioning Tom Courtenay's deliciously fussy jewelry store owner, who manages to steal the spotlight for a moment or two. All in all, Happy is an enjoyable little film.