— by RACHEL COYNE —
I haven’t seen “Happy Tears,” but after watching the trailer, it feels all too familiar. Two adult siblings — one dutiful and dependable, the other scattered and self-centered — are forced to deal with an ailing parent. But said ailing parent is feisty and stubborn, refusing to go gentle into that good night. Can this strained family pull together and give each other the help and support they all need?
What makes “Happy Tears” feel like an also-ran is that it cobbles together elements of movies already in existence. The whole feuding siblings/medical crisis plot reminds me of “Marvin’s Room.” The friction between polar opposite siblings is very “Home for the Holidays” and “Parenthood.” And the character of the sassy, sex-craving geriatric is just like every other sassy, sex-craving geriatric character to show up in hundreds of recent movies.
What may help “Happy Tears” to be more than a ghost of movies past is its cast. Demi Moore and Parker Posey are the dueling sisters, Rip Torn — who is always a great curmudgeon — is their father, and Ellen Barkin is his new “ladyfriend” who helps to give him a new lease on life. All are relatively well-known and respected actors, but not overwhelmingly present in today’s movies. The movie’s biggest draw will most likely be fans of these lesser seen actors, because the plot doesn’t look like anything new.
“Happy Tears” has already played a few film festivals and has a limited U.S. release planned for some time in February.
Follow Rachel Coyne on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheOpinionatedB.