Crazy People combines a hilarious dissection of advertising with a warm view of so-called insanity. Pic had a rocky production history as two weeks into lensing John Malkovich was replaced by Dudley Moore, and screen-writer Mitch Markowitz ceded his directing chair to Tony Bill. Finished film is a credit to all hands.
Moore toplines as a burnt-out ad man working with fast-talking Paul Reiser (perfect as a type commonplace in business) for a tyranical boss, J.T. Walsh. Under deadline pressure, he turns in campaigns that attempt an honest approach.
This raises more than eyebrows, but when Moore hands in ‘Most of our passengers get there alive’ to promote United Air Lines, the film jumpcuts emphatically to Bennington Sanitarium, his new home.
Director Bill envisions this looney bin as an idyllic retreat, with a natural, warm and beautiful Daryl Hannah as Moore’s nutty playmate there. The visual mismatch (she towers over the diminutive star) pays off.
Markowitz’s ingenious twists overcome the gag-driven nature of the film. Moore’s oddball ads accidentally get printed and create a consumer rush. Walsh hires Moore back and soon the inmates are virtually running the asylum.