If you’re going to make a movie, please, for the love of whatever you hold sacred, think it through before you actually go ahead and make it. Films are much more often bad from poorly conceived creative choices than they are from actual malicious intent, but the consequence is much the same in how a film can baffle an audience with its poor construction and bizarre plotting. Crazy Famous feels like it has two different plots shoved into its meager eighty minutes, competing for attention in a manner that diminishes both while exposing some glaring holes in the consistency of its internal logic.
The film opens on mental patient Bob (Gregory Lay) explaining to his doctor about why he desperately wants to be famous. As Bob starts to get to know the other residents at the mental health facility, he comes across a man claiming to be a secret agent (Richard Short) who claims to know the location of Osama bin Laden; apparently the government falsely claimed to have killed him in order to make the President look good. The agent convinces Bob that this journey would get him his desired fame, and with the help of a patient with serious anger issues and another who believes himself to be Dr. Phil, they mount an escape to hunt down bin Laden. However, not only does the agent turn out to be a real secret agent, but the U.S. government starts tracking the group so that they may find bin Laden themselves.
The biggest issue with Crazy Famous is that Bob’s quest to get famous and the group’s journey to kill Osama bin Laden never really interact and overlap. Sure, Bob wants to kill bin Laden to reap the fame that would bring him, but nothing about their journey forces him to grow into or out of that perception. Bob moves beyond his obsession at the end of the film because it’s the end of the movie, not because anything in the film influenced his beliefs. Meanwhile, the assassination plot makes absolutely no sense even upon cursory examination. Why would this agent not tell his government where bin Laden was? Why would he take a group of mental patients with him to kill bin Laden when they have no utility, actually hindering his mission at every step? Why is Osama bin Laden hiding in a cabin in upstate New York? How the hell didn’t the government find him there? Is Obama still president in this universe? (This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that the Trump administration would want to keep quiet.) None of these questions are remotely answered, and these are serious plot holes that need to be addressed, even if just in a passing, winking manner.
This issue ties into the biggest problem with this supposed comedy: it is never funny. Granted, the situation these characters find themselves in is inherently silly, but the film never heightens its reality to accommodate that silliness, nor does it expend any effort in actually telling any jokes. The closest it comes is some very basic fart humor that falls flat on delivery because the situation did not warrant it. Even the attempts to set up absurd situations is remarkably tone-deaf, wherein a group of mental patients hold up a gun store and they infiltrate bin Laden’s compound through the use of brownface.
This level of incompetence isn’t even limited to the failed attempts at comedy, as scenes of intense action get bizarrely somber or relaxed music cues that suck any sort of enjoyment out of them. There is nothing about Crazy Famous that works, and it appears that all its issues can be traced back to bad decisions at the conceptual phase. Even if the film is executed to the best ability of everyone involved, the plotting and artistic direction of the production is so bafflingly muddied that one could never know. Happy New Year, folks. Let’s hope films can’t get worse than this in 2018.