Adam Sherman’s Happiness Runs


Born and raised on a polygamous commune in the wilderness, embittered teen hippie Victor (Mark L. Young) has realized that the nonconformist ideals of his elders—like his parents (odd-duck pairing Andie MacDowell and Mark Boone Junior) and a seductive hypnotist guru (Rutger Hauer)—have produced a litter of burnt-out, oversexed, downright oppressed kids without the ability to see their looming self-destruction. Loosely based on writer-director Adam Sherman’s similar cult upbringing and disillusionment, the film builds on a fascinating cautionary tale, but doesn’t develop its characters past whatever movie-of-the-week crisis each suffers from. We get that everyone’s folks are too busy getting high or laid, but without a deepening of those parent-child dynamics, we’re left with a tacky Lord of the Flies scenario, seemingly filmed by Larry Clark like a trippy ’60s surf movie. Victor doesn’t have the scratch to move away, and he’s also distracted by his constantly naked, childhood love, Becky (Hanna Hall, the youngest sis from The Virgin Suicides), who has returned to care for her ailing dad and fuck every boy just to feel anything.