Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crazy People (1990) [R] ***


Emory Leeson (Dudley Moore) is an advertising copy writer who's suffering from writer's block because he hates the hypocrisy of his job... lying to people for a living. Then, one stormy night he has a brilliant idea: instead of writing lies, he'll tell the truth, the brutally honest, occasionally raunchy or obscene truth. And the ads he produces are hilariously funny. For example: Volvos... they're boxy but safeForget France, the French are annoying. Come to Greece, we're nicer!Metamucil... for people who want to go to the toilet.

Unfortunately, when his ads are accidentally published, and Drucker (J.T. Walsh), the head of the ad agency, sees the results in print and on TV, he banishes Emory to an upstate mental hospital for a long rest. Soon, however, the agency's clients notice an increase in sales; they attribute it to Emory's ads, and begin pressing Drucker for more of the same. When the agency staff can't produce, Drucker has no choice but to recognize Emory as an advertising genius and get him back.

Emory, however, likes the hospital, is falling in love with Kathy Burgess (Daryl Hannah) one of the members of his therapy group, and doesn't want to leave. He offers to teach the other members of his group the craft of ad writing and Drucker agrees. Soon, the group, relieved of mind-numbing art therapy and given real work and real responsibility, is creating ads every bit as inspired as Emory's, while developing heightened self-esteem and more normal human behavioral patterns. And, before long, in classic inmates running the asylum fashion, the group is hiring secretaries, and installing phone lines and fax machines.

Screenplay, direction and acting performances are uniformly good, especially Moore, Hannah, Walsh, Mercedes Ruehl as the group's compassionate psychiatrist, and Paul Reiser as Emory's ad agency co-worker. If you like darkly satirical films like Being There, Election, State and Main, Thank You for Smoking, or Wag the Dog you might really enjoy Crazy People.

Label:  comedy  
Internet Movie Database   
Tomatometer (critics=33, viewers=63)