“Like Crazy” won the Grand Jury Prize at the 27th Sundance Film Festival and tells the excruciating story of young love. Director Drake Doremus attempts to capture the audience’s attention with shaky handheld camera work, but it only adds to the headache generated by all of the whining on-screen.
Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) fall in love while Anna is giving a class presentation on the wonders of MySpace. They seem an unlikely pair, Anna is British. Jacob is American. Anna is beautiful, articulate, and a writer. Jacob appears to be a bit slow, with few verbal skills and builds chairs that all look exactly alike. Anna doesn’t mind holding up more than her share of the conversation, because after graduation she decides to stay in America rather than spend the two and half months in the UK required to renew her American visa. Anna makes this decision so she and Jacob can spend the summer in bed. Which they do. Which we see. This scene of Jacob and Anna dressed in a variety of different underwear, in a variety of positions lying in bed is both the most interesting and fastest paced scene in the film. At the end of the summer Anna returns to the UK to attend a wedding, then is unable to regain entry to the US, because she previously out stayed her visa.
Jacob spends the rest of the film in a state of confusion as he travels back and forth to England to visit Anna. They gaze at one another with twisted expressions of angst while Anna’s parents invest tons of money on legal bills trying to sort out her visa situation. In between the long periods of silence Anna lands a job as an assistant to an editor, gets handed a writing assignment on a silver platter and gets promoted to junior editor. Jacob manages to land another way too hot for him assistant/girlfriend (Jennifer Lawrence) and starts his own successful business building his cloned chairs.
A stronger screenplay would have given us more character development to show the passage of time. Doremus relies solely on the updating of the cell phones Jacob and Anna use. Text messaging is introduced to move the plot forward. The most dramatic moment of the film comes when Jacob leaves his cell phone on Anna’s kitchen table, after just text messaging his girlfriend back in the US. Geez, these kids aren’t all that swift with their new fangled technology. Yep, should have locked the phone, Jacob. Hmmmm. . . . Haven’t these kids ever heard of Skyping? . . . How are they so successful, when neither possess any communication skills? . . If they were actually working the hours needed to obtain this amazing professional success at such a young age, how would they even have time to maintain a long distance relationship and one on the side? When do Anna’s parents stop bailing her out of all of her bad decision-making? At what point do they learn that there are consequences for their behavior? Wow, this story is well, like crazy, and like annoying, and like boring. And headache inducing.
This film opened in Limited Release on October 28.
Run time: 1 hour, 29 minutes, rated PG-13.