Shortcut to Happiness
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlec Baldwin (credited as "Harry Kirkpatrick")
Written byPete Dexter
Bill Condon
Nancy Cassaro
Based on"The Devil and Daniel Webster"
by Stephen Vincent Benet
by Archibald Macleish
Produced byDavid Glasser
Carol Gillson
Jonathan Cornick
Alec Baldwin
StarringAlec Baldwin
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Anthony Hopkins
Dan Aykroyd
Kim Cattrall
Amy Poehler
CinematographyAdam Holender
Edited byJohn Carter
Mark Winitsky
Jeff Wood
Music byRamin Djawadi
Christopher Young
Distributed byYari Film Group
Release date
  • July 13, 2007 (2007-07-13) (U.S.)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million
Box office$605,294

Shortcut to Happiness is a 2007 film adaptation of the Stephen Vincent Benet classic 1936 short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster". It stars Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Anthony Hopkins. Baldwin also directed the film. Shot in early 2001 in New York City, the film was plagued with financial difficulties and was shelved for several years. Yari Film Group eventually bought and released the film to theaters in 2007.


Jabez Stone is a desperate, down-on-his-luck writer who hits rock bottom when his close friend, Julius Jensen, finds success. In his attempts to get his work published, he meets a beautiful stranger who offers him a chance at fame and fortune in exchange for his soul. Stone, having lost faith in himself, agrees to the offer.

After accepting the deal, Jabez is quickly lavished with all he had ever dreamed of: a book deal, money, women, notoriety, Stone now has it all. However, despite the success, he is losing the friendship, respect and trust of those around him. Coming to the realization that he did not quite get everything that he bargained for, Stone begs the devil to release him from their deal. When the devil scoffs, he turns to famed orator Daniel Webster. The two conclude that they should take the battle to court with Webster defending Stone in an otherworldly trial against the devil in the ultimate battle of wits in a fight over the fate of Stone's soul.


Production history

Shot in early 2001 in New York City, the film was plagued with financial difficulties. Baldwin said the movie was taken from him during post-production.[1] Due to this and other creative differences, Baldwin had his name removed from the directing credit; the name was ultimately replaced with the pseudonym "Harry Kirkpatrick".[2] Bob Yari bought the film from a bankruptcy court for an undisclosed amount, which was said[who?] to be several million dollars. Once the film was cleared to be sold for distribution, a rough cut was screened at film festivals in 2003 and 2004, though much of the film's post-production work was not finished. The film needed further financing to complete the editing and special effects, and to replace temporary music.

In July 2006 it was announced that Yari's company would work on finishing the film.[3] In 2007 the Yari Film Group announced the acquisition of the film and distribution plans.[4]


This film is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language and sexual content.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2014)

Shortcut to Happiness received mostly negative reviews.[5]


  1. ^ Baldwin says Feds have seized his debut film
  2. ^ 'New Life for Baldwin Devil', NY Post, 2007-01-14
  3. ^ IMDB
  4. ^ "Bedeviled pic finds distributor". Variety.
  5. ^ Rotten Tomatoes