Monday, 6 May 2013

Shortcut to Happiness (4 Stars)

Sometimes I forget how good Anthony Hopkins is as an actor. Films like this remind me. It's a sign of his brilliance that we remember his characters, not the man himself. A truly great actor can fade into the background and let his acting speak for itself.

This independent film isn't well known, despite its top level actors. Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alec Baldwin, Dan Aykroyd. Although intended for the cinemas, it has never been released in America or England. This is due to the confusing legal status of the film. The company making the film, Cutting Edge Entertainment, went bankrupt shortly after the film was completed in 2001. In 2007 Yari Film Group bought the film from the bankruptcy company. Legal wrangling has prevented it being released in English, though it's been released on DVD in other countries. I have the German version of the film, which includes the original English soundtrack.

Javez Stone (Alec Baldwin) is an unsuccessful author in New York. One evening he is approached by the Devil (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who offers him 10 years of success in exchange for his soul. The deal is sealed by sexual intercourse, which is an added bonus. This is the most beautiful Devil I've ever seen on screen. Never mind the success, I would have sold my soul for the sex alone. After five years Javez realises that success isn't making him happy, so he tries to get out of the contract. Daniel Webster (Anthony Hopkins) offers his services as a lawyer to take the Devil to court.

Overall this is a very good film. Maybe the trial itself is an anti-climax. It could have lasted an extra 15 minutes, it seemed hurried at the end. I was highly amused by the jurors, all people who had previously sold their souls to the Devil, a selection of authors and gangsters. The Devil visits Javez a few times to check up on his progress, but I wish she had stayed closer to him. My main fault with the film is that Jennifer Love Hewitt doesn't get more screen time.


  1. Reminded me of Bedazzled...I saw the 2000 versión and Elizabeth Hurley did a sexy devil too. Better actors in this one it seems.

    1. I know "Bedazzled", of course. Jennifer Love-Hewitt is hotter than Elizabeth Hurley, but unfortunately we don't see much of her. Shame. The main difference between the plots is that in "Bedazzled" the Devil plays tricks on Brendan Fraser, whereas in "Shortcut to Happiness" she actually gives what she promises.


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