This hackneyed, belly-button lint flick should die a quick death.
There’s a line in Howard Korder’s stage play Search And Destroy that I often wish more young writers would take to heart: “Just because it happened to you, doesn’t make it interesting.”
Like Crazy, 20-something writer-director Drake Doremous’ fourth feature, is the kind of spectacularly dull tale you’d hear a drunk young man tell at a bar and instinctively move several seats away to get yourself the hell out of earshot. Such a painfully naive star-crossed love story lacking any sense of perspective or proportion, the fact that it turns out to be semi-autobiographical was a foregone conclusion.
Anton Yelchin—an occasionally charismatic performer who really needs to stop taking such young roles now that he has the same hairline as my grandfather—stars as Jacob, a college TA whose single character trait (everybody in this film is granted exactly one) is that he designs furniture. Felicity Jones co-stars as Anna, the star student and object of his affections. Her lonely character trait is that she’s British. That’s all we learn about her.
After the last day of classes, the two fall in love during a montage sequence set to one of many annoyingly twee soundtrack selections. We never do get a chance to see if these two have any chemistry together, nor are we privy to any conversations about their lives that might entertain or inform the viewers as to what’s going on. Nope, the music and editing tell us they’re in love, so that’s just a given.
So rapturous is their affair, Anna overstays her Visa and spends the summer in (you guessed it) another montage sequence with Jacob. For such a bright pupil, she stupidly has no idea that this may cause some trouble if she wants to go home to England for a visit and then ever come back again.
Torn asunder by vicious airport customs agents at the half-hour mark, our thwarted young lovers proceed to flounder, racking up what I can only assume are breathtaking international long distance phone bills and generally feeling sorry for themselves all day while refusing to avail themselves of some screamingly obvious options.
For starters, Anna’s parents are rich and offer to help their daughter’s boo move to the U.K. and start over with her. The screenplay has conveniently neglected to provide Jacob with any friends, family or even the slightest motive for staying in the U.S. Instead, Yechin just furrows his brow and says, “No. You know I can’t do that.”
There goes another hour of your life, watching these cute twerps wallow in self-pity, typically in montage sequences—because Doremous and his co-writer Ben York Jones have no idea how to craft a scene that has a beginning, middle or end.
Eventually they try to move on, taking up with others. Yelchin inexplicably earns the attention of a breathtakingly hot wannabe furniture designer played by Winter’s Bone up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence. He spends most of their dates texting his ex, because he’s apparently so blind, deaf and dumb that he can’t even think about somebody else when Jennifer Lawrence is trying to have sex with him.
Anna settles in with Simon (Charlie Bewley)—an annoying jealous-guy-writer’s construct who might look handsome and seem great, but he doesn’t drink and is prone to doing stupid things like proposing to the girl he barely knows in front of her parents. As Simon is by far the most defined and proactive character in Like Crazy , it’s hard to shake the notion that Doremous is trying to settle some old scores here.
Hey guess what, it’s time for another montage! Now we get to cut back and forth between these two vapid cretins sleeping with other people while thinking of each other. Considering the time-zone difference, that’s a pretty amazing fluke of scheduling right there.
I don’t know if I have made myself clear enough yet, but I hated, hated, hated these people and despise writer-director Drake Doremous for wasting a brutally overlong 89 minutes of my life with them. At no point in Like Crazy does anybody utter a single line remotely interesting, or worthy of attention.
The filmmaking is even worse. Shot on such crappy digital video I thought I was watching a movie made 10 years ago, every scene is blocked in the same hand-held, catch-as-catch-can style more befitting home videos of your kid sister’s birthday party. Like Crazy has the smeared, creamy look of digital’s first unpleasant outings, and Doremous can’t seem to be troubled to compose a shot.
Like Crazy is the kind of hackneyed, self-indulgent belly-button-lint that typically dies a quick death on the festival circuit. The fact that Paramount Pictures has spent a small fortune picking up this insignificant flea-bite of a film and is now shepherding the cast and filmmakers across the country on promotional duties is the only crazy thing about it.
In short, I did not enjoy this movie.
Director: Drake Doremus
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence