Don Roos's Happy Endings (2005) wasn't widely seen in the UK, but it's well worth catching up with: at its best, this charming and funny ensemble movie (about the lives of a group of intimately- and tenuously-connected Los Angelenos) has some of the magic and excitement of the best Altmans. Roos isn’t a great director, yet, and he lets some strands in his network of relationships dangle a little too loosely. But with a characteristically witty script, some well-judged musical interludes, great acting, and an undertone of sadness and rue the movie occasionally feels a bit like a modern Nashville (1975). Actors including Jesse Bradford, Tom Arnold, Jason Ritter, Bobby Carnivale and Steve Coogan spark off each other brilliantly. But Roos has always been a terrific writer for women, and here he offers Lisa Kudrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal some prime opportunities to shine. Kudrow’s unusual vocal rhythms expertly capture her character's regrets and confusion, and Gyllenhaal matches her with a performance of incredible bite and freshness. Her opportunist character may be a direct descendent of Christina Ricci’s Dedee in Roos’s The Opposite of Sex (1998), but Gyllenhaal makes every scene her own. (The sequence in which she meets Kudrow’s character at an abortion clinic is a minor classic.) It's an extremely likeable movie.