Dave White
Happy Tears Review

Dave's Rating:


Oh, you'll cry alright...

Who's In It: Demi Moore, Parker Posey, Rip Torn, Ellen Barkin

The Basics: In this low-rent, zero-results cousin of The Savages, Parker Posey and Demi Moore are sisters having to figure out how to care for their aging father Rip Torn. That he's shacked up with a crack whore (Ellen Barkin), descending into dementia, always drunk, making his daughters miserable, giving away his beloved ex-wife's jewelry and losing control of his bowels with alarming frequency is only part of the... um... fun.

What's The Deal: I was told that this was supposed be a dark comedy. And sure, who wouldn't chuckle with pleasure over Demi Moore and Parker Posey wiping fake poop/chocolate pudding off of Rip Torn's old-dude buttcheeks? Problem is that you can't make an entire film of just those sorts of moments because then it becomes an art installation. So when the low budget and ugly production design and the feeling of awkward unease and the long, unexplained silences and the grating stylistic leaps into bizarre fantasy congeal and belch themselves all over the screen, whatever was supposed to be funny gets drowned in a depressing wave of pointless glop.

Confusingly Underdeveloped Semi-Autobiographical Subplot Alert: Parker Posey's character is married to the son of a famous, deceased, contemporary artist and is responsible for handling the late great's estate. Then that son begins to lose his grip on reality. It's meant to mirror Posey's character's relationship with Rip Torn but because it goes nowhere all you can do is wonder what it has to do with writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein's own connection to his famous Pop Art dad Roy.

Who Deserves Better: Everyone in the cast, but especially Posey and Moore, who seem to be struggling to make their scenes be about something. It's futile, but they're trying. And Barkin really goes for it as the nasty, gross-teeth-having drug lady. My personal hope is that all four of the leads are currently working on better projects that will erase this one from everyone's memory. And by "better projects" I mean that Moore could be making The Scarlet Letter 2 and be better off.

More Reliable Entertainment Option: Security camera footage of Rip Torn drunkenly breaking into that bank.


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