Happy Tears

12 Apr

Title: Happy Tears
Year: 2009
Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Writer: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Starring: Parker Posey, Demi Moore, Rip Torn, Ellen Barkin
MPAA Rating: R, language, drug use, and some sexual content including brief nudity
Runtime: 95 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 36%

There was a time when quirky indie dramedies were super new and original, and while that’s still mostly the case, there have so many of them that this is a genre which now has clichés, clichés that are employed to their fullest extent in Happy Tears, which by following a rather stale formula lets truly fine performances, especially those by Moore and Posey, go to waste.

It’s the story of these two sisters, one completely different from the other, and how they deal with their aging father. Rip Torn plays the father, and it made me remember how good an actor this man, who’s closing in on 80, really is, he plays extremely well the role of an old stubborn man who’s becoming senile and now being visited by his two daughters to be told just that. He also has Ellen Barkin as a “nurse” though it seems to us as though she learned her nursing skills from television shows and the only time she’d be wearing a nurse outfit is in the bedroom, and Laura, one of the daughter’s notices this right away when she comes to visit.

Laura is played by Demi Moore, and the other sister, Jayne, a shopaholic, is played by a wonderful Parker Posey. The rest of the film, even though is filled with clichés of the genre is still a nicely enough assembled story, these are two completely opposite women who love pot and who are played by two extremely capable actresses.

Ms. Moore especially is terrific as Laura, probably because I wouldn’t have initially assumed she would have been this good in this genre, as opposed to what I would have thought of Posey who’s still terrific, Moore looks amazing and her turn in this one has me thinking this genre is something she should try delving into more and more.

This is a film that even though is, I repeat, completely addled in clichés still does have great performances by four capable thespians, a really nice family story that’s told with a distinct sense of humor, but I’m not giving it a high grade because I think it should have been more.

Grade: C

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