Happy Tears Review
By David Kempler
Not One Tear, Not One Laugh
Jayne (Parker Posey) is returning home to the house she grew up in. She is well-off financially, having married well, but she's a bit of a ditz. Back at the old homestead lives her father Joe (Rip Torn), a perpetually rude drunkard with diminished brain function who we are supposed to find endearing. He is anything but.
Stuck with dad as his primary caretaker, is Jayne's sister, Laura (Demi Moore). She is looking forward to tagging-off to Jayne and hitting the road for a well-earned break. Adding to the "fun" is Shelly (Ellen Barkin), as dad's "nurse". She's part crack addict and part whore but, to her credit, does carry a stehescope. She comes the closest to being loveable but only when compared to the other characters.
The payoff for the ladies will hopefully be dad's treasure that is, according to him, buried in the backyard. Unfortunately, there is no payoff for anyone. The story goes nowhere, never comfortable with being a comedy nor a drama. It just wanders from point-to-point, from sight-gag to sight-gag, eliciting groans and yawns along the way. One almost feels sorry for everyone involved. Hopefully, they were blissfully unaware just how bad it all appears in its final form. The only point of interest is picturing Torn as a drunken lout in real life, given his recently reported stint in the news.
One question that I have asked myself for quite some time remains unanswered: is Demi Moore a bad actress, or does she pick terrible projects? She has been in about three decent films, out of about 40 she has appeared in. That is not a percentage to gloat about.
"Happy Tears" fails on so many levels that it is difficult find one where it succeeds at all. Harsh? Perhaps. But without seeing it (and hopefully you won't) you'll have to take my word for it.