Largely improvised and interminably dull, “Little Shots of Happiness” appears to be some kind of allegory about a woman’s quest to reinvent herself. Or something like that. Unfortunately, neither Verow nor his actors have the faintest idea how to sustain dramatic momentum in individual scenes. Time and again, characters ramble on and on, vamping and gesticulating as they wait in vain for inspiration to strike.
Occasionally, there are signs that Verow intends his pic as a comedy. But the laughs are few and very, very far between. The one genuinely funny scene has Frances posing as a prostitute just so she will have a place to spend the night.
Pic is notably prudish when it comes to depicting Frances’ sexual activity. (Much more skin is revealed in most newspaper ads for swimsuits.) For the most part, Verow sticks to showing his heroine before and after her dalliances. Since Frances usually drinks a great deal before getting down to business, the audience is forced to endure many scenes in which Dickenson works hard at trying to appear drunk. Much like porno flicks of yesteryear, “Little Shots of Happiness” ends on a melodramatic note, with the suicide of Frances’ unpleasant husband, and the accidental death of the only guy who doesn’t try to have sex with Frances. Somehow, our heroine manages to survive this trauma.
The acting is barely adequate, tech values even less impressive, and the mix of 16mm and video formats is singularly unattractive. In short, “Little Shots of Happiness” is bad enough to drive even a teetotaler to drink.