Smiles Rare in Happy Tears
Would-be dramedy just a weird mishmash
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2010 12:38 PM CST

(Newser) Happy Tears, a quirky family dramedy starring Demi Moore, Rip Torn, and Parker Posey, hasn’t made many critics happy. Here’s what they’re saying.

  • Director Mitchell Lichtenstein says the film’s not autobiographical, even though he, like one character, is the son of a famous painter (Roy Lichtenstein). “This is probably true,” says Rex Reed of the New York Observer, “since nothing in the film smacks of reality.” Instead we get, “a vulgar, happy-as-cancer aberration that takes the dysfunctional family idea to a new low.”

  • Whereas Lichtenstein’s first film, Teeth, was weird-funny, “Happy Tears is simply weird. The funny has gone missing,” writes Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter. It’s a mish-mash of styles and tones that “keep colliding instead of meshing. Scenes come off flat and awkward.”
  • But Roger Ebert liked it. Rip Torn, despite his recent real-life travails, “is a fine actor,” doing who does “worthy work” here—as does the entire cast, really—and the film has a “nicely screwy, sometimes stoned humor.”