Review – Leaving Los Angeles (“Crazy Eyes”)

What’s a “poor,” aimless, alcoholic rich boy to do when he can’t nail the girl he’s fixated on? Keep trying.

There. I just saved you 96 minutes. That’s the running time of “Crazy Eyes,” director Adam Sherman’s take on the classic Hollywood “drunk” genre. You know, the “drinking himself to death, screwed up his family, can’t find a human connection, maybe gonna get rescued” type of film.

Lukas Haas plays Zach, the afore-mentioned drunk. Zach spends all of his time getting drunk and getting laid (usually in that order.) His money affords him the opportunity to do this. (Where did he get it? We never know.) He has the fancy house, the fancy car and the wad of cash to flash to bed anyone he wants. And he does, until he meets Rebecca (Madeline Zima.) You see, she’ll sleep with him, but that’s all. ‘Sleep,’ as in lie next to naked and pass out. No sex. Nada.

Zach, as one would imagine, finds this very frustrating. He finds himself obsessed with this girl (nicknamed “Crazy Eyes,” although Zima’s eyes don’t appear particularly ‘crazy” to this viewer) and sets about winning her over. Does this stop him from banging anything else that moves? Not really. They are a perfect match, however, as she is as much a raging alcoholic as he is. (Special note should be made that “Crazy Eyes” may set the record for number of “heaving” scenes in a film. I half expected to see “Vomit Wrangler” listed among the crew credits.)

Zach’s quest is complicated by family drama. He’s got parents who are slightly off (the always welcome Ray Wise and Valerie Mahaffey) and an ex-wife and child to deal with (Moran Atias and an affecting Blake Garrett.) Some amusement is provided by Zach’s bartending best buddy Dan (Jake Busey, in a performance that calls to mind his father.) These vignettes do break up the monotony of Zach’s repeated failed attempts at breaking down Rebecca’s resistance, but not much.

So where does all this lead to? Pretty much where you expect. And that’s the problem. Grounded in solid performances by Haas and the supporting cast (but not by the erratic Zima,) “Crazy Eyes” tells a story told before and better. The dialogue veers into the laughable at points, and by the end of the film you’re left with an overwhelming sense of “meh.” What was the point?

“Crazy Eyes” opens Friday, July 13th in San Francisco at Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre and Berkeley’s Shattuck Cinemas. Director Adam Sherman will hold Q&A’s at the Lumiere’s July 13th 8:15 pm showing and at the Shattuck Cinemas July 14th 7:10pm showing.

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