Tuesday, September 14, 2010

30 Days of Crazy Blog-a-thon: Crazy People

This is part of Blog Cabins 30 Days of Crazy.  Check them all out here.

Crazy People is not a complicated movie, just charming and funny.  It's about telling the truth, and crazy people do it better than most.  Dudley Moore plays Emory, an ad man who has had it with making his living by telling lies.  He no longer sees advertising as spinning the truth or talking up a product.  His partner, Stephen (Paul Reiser - whatever happened to him?) is pretty sure Emory has gone off the deep end when he presents an ad for Jaguar with a tagline that says "For men who'd like hand jobs from beautiful women they hardly know."   He wants to say what everyone's already thinking. 
Emory is admitted to a fancy psychiatric facility, where the patients (inmates?) are playing volleyball, without the ball.  The cast of patients is what makes this movie - David Paymer (That Guy from dozens of movies, my fav being one of the brothers from City Slickers) plays George who has only said "hello" for the past 20 years.  Daryl Hannah is Kathy, whose mental disorder is never made clear except that she has been there a long time for depression.  She hits on Emory and they become friends.  The rest of the patients aren't actors I recognized, though their individual IMDB pages say that most of them are still working in various projects.  Emory fits right in, but meanwhile, his crazy truth telling ads were accidentally published ("Metamucil - it helps you go to the toilet.  If you don't use it, you'll get cancer and die") and cause huge returns.  His boss (the late J.T. Walsh in all his evil glory) decides they have to go get Emory to keep it up for all their clients.  Emory doesn't want to leave, and the other patients rally around him to help get the ads out. 

This leads to the ad business starting up in the psych center.  They create lots of ads, for all kinds of things, telling the truth, or a different creative view of the truth.  Unfortunately, Walsh assumes his company can do it too, and they show off their stupidity and satirize the advertising (and Hollywood machine) as a different kind of crazy who cannot figure out how to be honest.  The big climax comes when the head doctor makes a deal with Walsh to keep churning out crazy ads by keeping the crazy people locked up, but only if they get rid of Emory.  However, the patients are crazy, not dumb, and sabotage the whole thing.

You know from the beginning it will have a happy ending, and glossing over variations of crazy is part of the charm.  If they had more of a Gothika or Shutter Island set of crazy people, it just wouldn't work.  Actually dealing with mental illness isn't part of this movie, rather comparing soulless business men with heartfelt lay people is where all the humor and charm comes from.  Dudley Moore is terrific throughout.   Darryl Hannah is more bland than annoying, but as the only character who might actually be mentally ill, she brings a lot of credibility to the psych center aspect.  Overall, the ads are the stars of this movie - you can't actually believe any of them would make it into a magazine, but you know they're all correct in what they're saying.  Good movie, check it out on itunes.

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