“Happy Tears”
 
Yes, they’re trying to be ironic, but sometimes their caricatures are, well…trying.
Rip Torn, as a dementia-addled Papa, enjoys being a mess.  He makes crude remarks that embarrass everybody, constantly slurps Schlitz, and has a girlfriend (Ellen Barkin) who looks downtrodden, wrinkled, skinny, rough, and generally like some aging stripper searching for any kind of Sugar Daddy, even if he is sour.
            He has two grown daughters, played by Demi Moore and Parker Posey.  Demi, the older one, is the caustic caretaker---a joyless realist who will bore everybody doing her duty, sometimes even herself.  Parker is the little princess, still expecting someone to take care of her, still living in a dream world, still expecting those around her to play their appointed parts in her unending fairy tale.
            Naturally, there is tension all around.  Rip claims that he has buried treasure in the yard; his daughters think it’s his delusional way of keeping them tethered.  “The girls” seem to have it together, but they really don’t---Demi’s husband is a masseur who swears he’s not gay any more (she was going to “cure” him?).  Parker’s boyfriend is rich because his Daddy was a famous abstract artist, but he seems to have inherited the mad genius’ madness without the genius.  And Parker herself enjoys mental flights of fancy, without or without the help of hallucinogens.  Maybe she’s the one who’s really crazy.
            Like an existentialist play, nobody’s happy or fulfilled, everybody wants something from somebody else, but nobody can get anyone else to give them what they really want.  It’s not a comedy, it’s not a romance, it’s not a drama, it’s not a farce---it’s more like an abstract painting---the value is what you choose to see in it. 
            Good luck with that.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas