I hadn’t thought about Crazy People for years, but I was watching an old film on VHS – yes kids, VHS – recently and this was one of the previews. And it was a compelling preview that made me wonder just why I haven’t thought of it for two plus decades.
So I hunted Crazy People down, and let me just say that the preview is like the advertisements that form the key plot point in the film, they are there to sell the product only, it is up to you the consumer to decide the worth – AFTER you have made your purchase.
In summary. Crazy People; Great marketing. Shit product.
Emery (Dudley Moore) and Steve (Paul Reiser) are ad-men outta ideas. With deadlines looming and writer’s block ruling Emery reaches out in desperation with an angle no-one has considered before. Honesty in advertising.
Of course this decision – as well as some other supporting reasons – result in Emery being committed to the local institution, which is less an asylum than it is a rest home for the mildly eccentric. It seems that everyone in the place has delightfully comic disorders
– the guy that says nothing but “Hello” regardless of the situation, the man who will not discuss anything but Saab motor-cars, and several other guys with issues not hilarious enough for them to be highlighted in the film, they were probably manic depressives or mass murderers or something boring like that…
Then there’s Kathy (Darryl Hannah), a beautiful young women with issues of her own, one of which is that she finds Dudley Moore attractive. Emery initially resists the implication that he has problems with his thinker but gradually realises that this place is genuinely
relaxing and that his fellow patients aren’t nearly as annoying as his former work colleagues.
Then something amazing happens. Something so very amazing that it could only happen in a movie that revolved around one key logic defying occurrence. Emery’s ads are accidentally released to the public. And the public laps them up, buying the advertised products by the bunch.
Emery’s employers try in vain to replicate the success of these first ads but seem to lack the basic honesty chip required to form taglines that resonate with consumers. Realising that crazy ads need crazy people to create them, they turn to Emery and his fellow patients…
And in essence that’s the entire premise, Emery and Co are employed to come up with brutally frank and blunt ads for real companies like Volvo, Porsche and Sony, all with faux shocking taglines which muster a chuckle here and there. This is where the preview is most effective, it contains the best 90 seconds of chuckles from the film, unfortunately the film contains the other 90 laughless minutes.
I wanted to like Crazy People. I wanted to unearth a long forgotten comedy and remind people that Dudley Moore and Darryl Hannah were once relevant names in Hollywood. But there’s a reason that some things are buried in the first place, some products are so dodgy that even the best ad man can’t make them worth purchasing.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Youtube the trailer, the rest isn’t worth hunting down.