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SXSW 2012 Review: CRAZY EYES

GATW Guest Writer

March 26th, 2012

Guest Review: Britt Hayes is the North American Editor for Brutal As Helland a Contributing Writer for Reel Vixen.

Zach (Lukas Haas) is a wealthy, alcoholic womanizer who spends his evenings getting loaded and calling every woman in his cell phone, looking for someone to keep him company. The opening tells us that this story is a work of fiction; Zach tells us his story is true - but to what end? Thanks to his vast fortune (the genesis of which is never explained), Zach has most women greedily pecking from his hand, except for one. Rebecca (Madeline Zima) is an artistic ne'er do well with a feisty streak; a complicated woman, who, like most of us, seemingly has no idea what she wants.

Zach calls Rebecca "Crazy Eyes," and spends much of the film in a boozy tug-of-war, trying to bed her as she flirts with him and then rebuffs his advances. Two alcoholics in a relationship engage in cyclical enabling, but there's something oddly sweet about the way the two of them consistently make and break plans in favor of glugging bottles of wine, and the way Rebecca fights Zach off, knowing deep down that the moment she gives in to him, she'll lose him.

CRAZY EYES is rife with charming, dark humor, no small feat considering how patently unlikable its characters are and should be. Jake Busey plays Zach's best friend, a bartender (akin to becoming friends with your drug dealer), and the two of them engage in misogynistic banter and behaviors. Yet the film transcends their deplorable nature and finds the humor, and with Zach, the pathos in these characters.

In the background Zach is dealing with his gold-digging ex-wife and the shared custody of their son; his ex is a constant, nagging reminder to be careful with the women he chooses to bed, and his son exists as his only tether to adulthood and responsibility. These errant threads keep Zach afloat and away from a complete devolution into self-destruction. When his father has a stroke, those threads, including Rebecca, begin to quickly unravel, and Zach questions if he's in love with Rebecca or if this is just the longest game of trying to bed a woman that he's ever played.

CRAZY EYES is a charming, intoxicating examination of intoxication; a meditation on infatuations and dependency - chemically and romantically - and the abuses of alcohol and the heart. A film that observes a cross-section in the lives of two meandering, enabling drunkards shouldn't be this funny or sweet, and yet it is.

Grade: B

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