Saturday, February 27, 2021

Crazy About Her: Movie Review

Smart, sensitive and funny.
This one caught me off guard. With that premise, I was concerned with how wrong it could get. But Crazy About Her is smart and sensitively written and holds true to the rom-com genre. Most romantic comedies that bring in mental illness will go dark or dramatic, but this remains (mostly) funny and romantic throughout. It has a sharp wit, is entertaining and is still a tender and thoughtful portrait of mental illness.   2021

Directed by: Dani de la Orden

Screenplay by: Natalia Durán, Eric Navarro

Starring: Álvaro Cervantes, Susana Albaitua

Adri (Álvaro Cervantes) is a bit of a player. He’s at the bar with his friends betting that he could successfully pick up any woman. Now, before we go further, I need to add that right off the bat, Cervantes has made Adri more funny and endearing than sleazy. He’s a charming idiot to laugh with. His friends pick out a woman for him, but before he gets to her, Carla (Susana Abaitua) runs into him spilling his beer, claiming that her friends have bet her to pick him up, and she begs him to not lose the bet.

What follows is their ‘magical night’ and it’s fantastic. The first 10 minutes of the movie is fast, and funny and delightful, great music, great introduction to the characters and perfectly paced. It’s hard not to be hooked after that. The next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the morning after that, Adri is terrified to slowly realize that he’s in love with Carla, but he doesn’t know who she is. Luckily, in her forgotten coat, he has an address.

She lives at a mental institution. It takes him awhile to realize that she’s a patient there, and then his immediate reaction is to get himself admitted with a fake doctor’s note. My one concern is how much money these characters are throwing around. He pays 1000 euros to bribe a doctor to say he’s mentally ill, then pays another 2000 euros to stay at the hospital. Just because he likes a girl that he met once. I laughed every time another character called him crazy for real, because that's an insane amount of money to spend on a whim.

This movie works because the rest of it, which takes place at the mental hospital, is smart and sensitive and funny without pandering. All of the characters are treated with respect, and Adri gradually matures in a realistic manner. He recognizes when he’s being insensitive and stays true to himself. And, very importantly, the film never leaves the plot or story to lecture to the audience. Adri is there to win over Carla, and he has his work cut out for him since she unsurprisingly isn’t wooed by a guy who pretends to be insane to get admitted to the hospital that she needs to be at.

You may be asking, doesn’t Adri have a job? Indeed he does. He works for a Buzzfeed-type magazine writing click-bait articles for a boss that epitomizes all that is wrong with the world today (literally, he only has two scenes and manages to take the wrong side on every single ill of society). This means that he’s all for Adri faking insane, going under-cover at a mental institution, and all for the sake of an article with hopefully a catchy headline.

Crazy About Her stays on the smart and mature side of comedy. It mostly follows the expected rom-com beats but does so with a lot of heart and integrity. For non-Spanish-speaking rom-com fans, the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles is easy to get over and worth it too, and please don't go for the Netflix dubbed version, the voice acting is horrendous and way more noticeably bad when the original is so well made.