Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got The Will? Review

Image for Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got The Will?

The bickering siblings of a Texas family reunite by their father's deathbed, to reopen old wounds and settle old scores.


Deep in the heart of Texas, Daddy Remsen is on the way out – hence the rather splendid name – precipitating a gathering of his mismatched clan.

There's Orville (Bridges) the booze hound son, church-going Lurlene (Wright), Sarah Lee (Harper), the daughter who stayed at home, rapidly on her way to becoming an old maid, and the gothic sheep of the family, Evalita (D'Angelo). As they come together for the battle over the family spoils, old arguments arise, old wounds are reopened, and daddy, not surprisingly, shuffles off this mortal coil.

A strange cross between The Big Chill and Crimes Of The Heart, director Fisk pitches his film somewhere between interesting character study and broad farce. As the former, it constantly threatens to work well; as the latter, it's several gags short of a hoot. Every time events and sibling confrontations start to heat up, for instance, the film backs down and veers into knockabout, run around, tearing-up-the-house-looking-for-the-will farce. The plus factor of this approach is that the film avoids sinking into pure slush. The minus factor is that, despite an excellent cast and a strong sense of the Deep South, it simply isn't very funny.

Fine acting helps overcome the shortcomings in other areas, but the film's tone falls between two chairs, and is neither funny nor tragic enough.