This is a fantastic example of how much an indie filmmaker can do with a few basic materials, a good cast, and loads of talent. Great title, too; the film deals with a dysfunctional family, a bunch of folks who are just a little off-center, but never so much where you can't relate to them. It feels very, very true to me; it's an observant film. Where an awful lot of movies are composed of recycled parts from other movies, A LITTLE CRAZY seems drawn from life, and this is a good deal less common than it should be.Jack Kerrigan, looking much like a burnt-out Elvis Presley, plays Theo, the hapless scion of a charmingly warped Midwestern family. He's called home to Fort Wayne, after some years in L.A., when his depressed father "accidentally" shoots himself, almost fatally. Here, Theo quickly finds himself up to his neck in a multitude of long-standing familial conflicts. His spacey New Age mother's in denial; his brother, an ultra-perky motivational speaker, is once again rubbing him the wrong way. Worse yet, his wife may be pregnant; she makes it clear she wants to keep the baby--and if he doesn't agree he can go his own way. Suddenly, he's in a major life crisis.
The excellent ensemble cast does wonders with this material; they're just wacked out enough to be interesting, but they remain within the bounds of plausibility. Director Jordan Ellis has absorbed a valuable lesson: eccentrics fall flat on the screen unless you can believe in them. They're like everyone else, really--only a bit more so. The humor derives from the characters, and as a result it doesn't feel forced. Ellis doesn't strain for laughs; that's precisely why it's so funny. (Funniest scene: Theo's clueless friend from the old days drags him out for a night on the town, fretting that he can't have Theo returning to L.A. telling everybody that "Fort Wayne doesn't know how to party!")
And for a movie with a budget of something approaching zero, and shot entirely on handheld cameras, A LITTLE CRAZY is visually quite accomplished. I recommend it to aspiring filmmakers who would like to learn how to shoot on video while avoiding that home-movie tackiness.It's the best no-budget film I've seen in a long time.