Drake Doremus's Like Crazy
Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:
Like Crazy (2011)
“Like Crazy” attempts to show us a real take on first love. It takes us through the ups and downs of the relationship as the two come together and are drawn apart over and over again, showing us that, no matter how many obstacles get in the way, it’s hard to forget that certain someone you had special feelings for.
Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) meet in a college class and begin dating. As first dates often go, it begins awkwardly with neither of the two having very much to say. However, they find that they have a strong bond between them which leads to their continued relationship. Anna is a British citizen visiting the US on a student visa, which means she will have to leave when it expires, but because of her feelings for Jacob, she decides to stay.
This leads to big problems later when she attempts to reenter the US after a trip. She is detained and immediately put back on a plane for the UK. It seems like their relationship is doomed, but in an effort to keep it going, Jacob visits her at her home. However, we discover that their relationship may not be as firm as it once appeared as more troubles arise when they try to get her another visa and questions of infidelity on both sides come to light.
While “Like Crazy” does attempt to show us a real first love scenario, its flaws end up making it a rather unbelievable situation where by the end, we hardly care whether the couple ends up together or not. For starters, the whole plot is based on an extremely poor decision by not one, but both of the main characters.
Anna wants to stay despite the fact that her visa is going to run out. She knows this will really mess things up for her and Jacob later on, because she will inevitably be found out and deported. This obviously doesn’t concern her very much as she doesn’t put much thought into her decision at all when she announces it to Jacob.
When Anna tells Jacob of her decision, he spends an entire two seconds trying to talk her out of it before giving up. This obviously leads to problems later on when Anna returns to the US after attending a wedding, and what’s more, she seems rather surprised when she is held up at customs for having overstayed the visa. It would have been much simpler if she had followed through on her plan of returning home and then returning on a work visa. An exceedingly bad decision like this from both of the main characters is not exactly going to make an audience feel sympathetic for them when things start going wrong.
Things do indeed start going even more wrong with their relationship, causing them to part and get back together multiple times. It is this repetitiveness that ends up being another major flaw in the film. These two don’t really seem to be right for each other what with the awkward air between them whenever they get together, yet they continually try to get back together, even after having seen other people for awhile.
By the end of the film, they’ve split up and rejoined so many times that you just don’t care whether they’re able to work things out or not. This is not helped by the fact that they landed themselves in this predicament in the first place by deciding to ignore the expiration of Anna’s student visa. Apparently the writers, Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones, didn’t really care either as they leave us with an ending that’s abrupt, flat, and ambiguous, leaving the relationship in question, though, if a guess were required, it would be that after the film ends, they split up and got back together again.
The performances from Yelchin and Jones are admirable, but they just don’t have much to work with as their characters are underwritten and underdeveloped. If the writers had concentrated on the actual problems this relationship was having instead of making it about how it’s on again/off again, then perhaps there would have been something there to engage the audience, but instead, the film remains unfocused as it drifts through these characters’ lives. The only thing that it will leave you with is the thought that sometimes young people in love can do some pretty dumb things. 2/4 stars.
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