‘Crazy Eyes’ is kind of a love story but one you just know is not going to have a happy ending. It is the tale of the relationship between a Los Angeles drunk and the woman he drinks with, but never manages to sleep with, no matter what angles he pulls. It is fiction but you know that writer Adam Sherman has added his own personal experiences to the plot as he did previously with ‘Happiness Runs’.
Zach, played by Lukas Haas, is the divorced, wealthy playboy whose life is in turmoil due to his alcohol consumption. This is based on Sherman’s own life and ‘Crazy Eyes’ is his friend and drinking partner, played by Madeline Zima. This would be Sherman’s co-writer, Rachel Hardisty. There is a third member of this tight-knit group and that is the barman Dan Drake, fantastically played by Jake Busey.
Dan Drake would represent another of Sherman’s friends, Dave Reeves. Zach, apart from his wealth, is a failure. He cannot deal with life and has failed both as a husband and a father. He is the son that any parent would despair about and his long-suffering parents are played here by Ray Wise and Valerie Mahaffey. It is as if Zach wants to blame his turmoil on them at times but you know that they are not at fault.
The trio of Zach, ‘Crazy Eyes’ and Dan form an alliance which even they don’t seem to understand. Zach can buy friendship by getting people drinks but he still wakes up hungover and alone the next morning. He has many women’s phone numbers and can sleep with them but there is no emotional connection. But he never stops trying with ‘Crazy Eyes’ and you wonder if it is the thrill of the chase that he yearns.
Zach gives her the nickname because of the look he sees in her eyes but it doesn’t really suit her. You think he has chosen it because her eyes are in complete contrast with his own lifeless eyes. There is a real chemistry between the two of them. It is probably the sort of chemistry that only friends can have and you feel that it would explode in their faces if they ever actually slept together.
Zach is extremely bitter about the other two main women in his life and you feel that he has reason to be. There is his ex-wife who cheated on him, played by Moran Atias, and Autumn, (Tania Raymonde), who is a gold-digger. Yes, he has reason to be bitter, but we can see the reasons for their actions too.
Director/producer, Sharon Meir has captured the setting beautifully on a hand-held 35mm camera. It sort of shows the seedy side of the glamorous Los Angeles lifestyle. The musical score by Bobby Johnston and the selection of tracks by Doug Bernheim are also just right. It is a gritty film and very entertaining in its own way but hard to empathise with the characters.