Crazy Eyes: Film Review

Superficial portrait of drunken, superficial characters.

Adam Sherman's film is an autobiographical portrait of a rich, drunken L.A. obsessed with bedding a sexually uncooperative fellow barfly.

In his sophomore feature Crazy Eyes, filmmaker Adam Sherman (Happiness Runs) delivers an apparently autobiographical portrait of a rich, drunken L.A. wastrel obsessed with bedding a sexually uncooperative fellow barfly. We should all have such problems.

A suitably dissipated-looking Lukas Haas stars as the director’s alter ego Zach, a playboy of indeterminate means who lives in a mansion and spends every night getting drunk at a bar manned by his best friend (Jake Busey). Accompanying him on most of these excursions is the flighty, sexy Rebecca (Madeline Zima, playing a character not far removed from her breakout role in Showtime’s Californication), whose nickname gives the film its title.

That the duo purportedly set out most nights to catch a local exhibition of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, only to be waylaid by alcoholic temptation, is the principal running gag of the repetitive screenplay co-written by Sherman, Dave Reeves and Rachel Hardisty.

Narrating the proceedings in existential fashion, Zach -- who resembles a younger Charles Bukowski minus the wit -- proves a less-than-compelling central figure despite subplots concerning his troubled relationships with his overly indulgent parents (Ray Wise, Valerie Mahaffey) and neglected five-year-old son (Blake Garrett Rosenthal).

And his relationship with Crazy Eyes, who winds up undressed in his bed most nights even while adamantly refusing to accept his often highly physical advances, is less an incisive portrait of romantic obsession than an example of the film’s frequent descents into misogyny.

The largely aimless narrative, filled with drunken bar fights and endless gross depictions of the after-effects of heavy drinking, quickly tests the viewer’s patience. Neither Haas nor Zima is able to fully redeem their one-dimensional characters, though Busey, who’s clearly inherited his father Gary’s charisma, provides some amusing moments as the hair-triggered bartender.

Opened: July 7
Production: Crazy Eyes
Cast: Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima, Jake Busey, Tania Raymonde, Regine Nehy, Moran Atias, Ned Bellam
Director: Adam Sherman
Screenwriters: Adam Sherman, Dave Reeves, Rachel Hardisty
Producer: Hagai Shaham
Director of photography: Sharon Meir
Editor: Sam Bauer
Production designer: Celine Diano
Costume designer: Erica Nicotra
Music: Bobby Johnston
No rating, 95 minutes.