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Featured DVD / Blu-ray Review: Like Crazy

March 3rd, 2012

Like Crazy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Like Crazy had advance buzz that most limited releases could only dream of. It even earned some Award Season buzz. It did earn some awards at film festivals and critics associations; however, it was shut out at the majors. Likewise, it earned $3 million at the box office, which is great compared to most limited releases, but wasn't able to truly escape the art house circuit. Did it deserve to win a few more awards and reach a few more major milestones? Or did it over-perform compared to its quality?

The Movie

Felicity Jones plays Anna and Anton Yelchin plays Jacob, two students at college in Los Angeles. She's from Britain, but is the United States studying journalism. After giving her presentation, Anna leaves a love note on Jacob's car and after he calls her, they start a relationship. We see their awkward first date where they talk about things they have in common, and a short montage later, they are deeply in love. Her mom and dad (Oliver Muirhead) come for a visit, and they love Jacob. Their relationship grows, but all the while, her student visa looms over them. When she graduates, it will expire and she will have to return to Britain over the summer and try to get a work visa.

Anna decides she would rather ignore her visa and stay with Jacob all summer and reluctantly Jacob agrees to this plan. However, she has to return home for a wedding, but when she tries to get back into the States, she stopped by Customs for her previous visa violation and forced to go back to the U.K. Who knew overstaying your visa would have repercussions? Oh right, everyone. That's why everyone told her to take her visa seriously. Now she's stuck in Britain and he's in Los Angeles starting his own design company. What was a simple relationship has become a very complicated long distance relationship.

The exact complications involved are spoilers, so I will end the plot summary here.

I have two major problems with this movie. Firstly, when it comes to romantic movies, one of the big draws is seeing two people in love overcome obstacles in their way. The more poignant and / or vast the obstacle, the greater the romance. However, the big obstacle here is Anna. Her insistence in ignoring immigration law is what pulls her and Jacob apart. We see people repeatedly warn her not to do this, but she does so anyway. She's also a bit flaky, which made it more difficult to root for their relationship. They don't seem to be fighting too hard for their relationship either (they both hook up with other people while separated) and this makes it even harder to care. Second, the film was too artsy with the filmmakers making choices that seem designed to make the film less mainstream, but not better. The dialogue is improvised, there are too many montages, and there are a lot of scenes that don't flow from one another. I think this was an attempt at giving the film an art house feel, but it came across as fragmented instead.

It's not a bad movie and there are some good performances, including some by underused supporting actors (Alex Kingston, Jennifer Lawrence, etc.). But the overall result is more average than anything else.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD is an audio commentary track, which is in the setup menu. I really hate that. Stick audio commentary tracks in a special features menu item. The commentary has the director, Drake Doremus; the editor, Jonathan Alberts; and the cinematographer, John Guleserian. I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, so I don't know if it has additional extras or how strong its technical presentation is.

The Verdict

I never felt I was given an amble enough reason to care about the central relationship in Like Crazy, and for a romantic movie, that's fatal. There are some good performances and the DVD or the Blu-ray is worth checking out, but a rental will be enough for most people.


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