|Ron Howard, Tessa Dahl, and Patricia Neal|
"All this togetherness and love makes me want to puke." -- Cara.
Now here's a weird one. Johnny (Ron Howard) comes to a dreary fishing village to look for his birth mother, Rhonda (Cloris Leachman). Rhonda and her sister, Cara (Patricia Neal), have not spoken for many years, and Rhonda refuses to tell Johnny who his father is, only that he's dead. Meanwhile, the town has always wondered who disposed of George, Cara's murdered husband. Cara has a strange daughter named Celia (Tessa Dahl, the real daughter of Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl), who makes an awkward play for Johnny. Nothing much happens for over an hour until the body of Eddie (Bobby Darin), Rhonda's boyfriend (who works as a cook in her restaurant) is pulled up out of the bay. Meanwhile, Cara's neighbor, Piccolo (Joseph Mascolo), has a girlfriend named Crystal (Kathie Browne, the wife of Darren McGavin), who in the movie's liveliest scene discovers more than one body in a shuttered old house. Despite some interesting characters, performances, and elements, Happy Mother's Day, Love George is one of those forgettable nominal "psycho-shockers" that just doesn't give the viewer enough jolts or thrills to wake them up out of their lethargy. Post Opie and Happy Days, Howard is fine as the confused young "stranger." Two Oscar-winning ladies, Leachman [Young Frankenstein] and Neal, are also good (although Neal borders on the grotesque), and it is needless to say that both deserved a much better vehicle, as did Darin [State Fair], who is given little to do in his last picture. The somewhat ungainly Tessa Dahl is effective, although she's obviously so off her rocker that the film holds few surprises; she had only a few credits afterward. McGavin's direction keeps things moving along well enough, but little else. Simon Oakland of Psycho fame plays the sheriff.
Verdict: Maybe it's better not to look up your relatives. **.