Surprisingly Well Balanced Dramedy
The crazy thing about Crazy About Her is just how well the movie balances its comedy and drama. For every laugh out loud moment is an equally tense and surprisingly thought provoking segment, showing the very difficult and heartbreaking reality of mental illness.
It’s just a shame that the movie is shackled to a generic romcom plot because if this had a stronger anchor, it could quite easily be a real dark horse gem of 2021.
On paper, the story has all the ingredients to completely fail. Here, we follow magazine writer Adri, who boasts about being able to woo any woman in a bar with a few well-timed pick-up lines. Determined to prove his co-workers right, he’s interrupted by a bubbly, eccentric stranger called Carla, who “accidentally” bumps into him and encourages Adri to buy her a drink.
One drink leads to crashing a wedding reception, which in turn leads to an eventful one night stand. The only trouble is, Adri has real feelings for this girl and struggles to shake off the hangover her heady cocktail of fun and mischief have left in the morning. One thing leads to another and Adri eventually finds Carla… in a psychiatric institution.
In an elaborate, whimsical ploy to win her over, Adri voluntarily turns himself in. The only trouble is, Adri’s unable to leave again until he can prove he’s mentally sane.
Along the way, Adri meets a number of colourful inmates, each with their own quirks and unique subplots that are explored and developed across the course of this 100 minute picture.
While that sounds like a long time for a comedy, the film’s pitch-perfect tone switches between comedy and poignant drama at a dime – and at just the right moment too. Given the subject material, this could so easily have devolved into a cringey, over-acted nightmare but somehow the film manages to get things just right.
In a way, this feels like a bizarre mash-up of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 50 First Dates, Patch Adams and every cheesy romcom you’ve ever seen. In theory, it has absolutely no right to work but somehow the film comes out the other side smelling of roses.
Now, again, this film won’t be for everyone. There’s some pretty heavy themes tackled and the style of humour is likely to be one of those love/hate affairs with many people. Likewise, the generic love story hits all the usual, tired clichés including the fallout, betrayal, misunderstanding and dramatic confessions, unashamedly sticking to the tried and tested rather than switching things up.
However, where Crazy About Her excels is in depicting what’s happening outside the main romance. I won’t spoil anything here, as it’s best to go into this one blind, but Saul and Marta are among the best written characters in the movie and both are armed with some great subplots. Undoubtedly, you’ll find yourself getting far more invested in their stories.
What begins as a funny romcom with a few neat little twists soon grows into an impactful film about mental health and how society views others. It’s a surprisingly well rounded picture, a dramedy with a wicked hook and some well timed jokes. It certainly won’t be for everyone but if you can go into this with an open mind and look past the generic romance, there’s a lot to like with this one.
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Verdict - 7/10