Michael and Roslyn are high school sweethearts who are now married with children in their early 20's. Roslyn's friend, Joannie, convinces her to have an affair with bad boy Joey. Joey is a very bad boy. Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
Ralph Bakshi wrote the screenplay before he became famous with the intention to produce it as his first feature film. It was originally titled "When I Catch Her I'll Kill Her." The studio Bakshi approached found the material to be "too hot." According to Bakshi, "A story about women cheating on their husband was too far out at that time for some reason." Years later, Bakshi handed in the same script, with a few changes, and it was approved by the studio that eventually produced the film. See more »
"Cool and the Crazy" seems like a promising film. It has Alicia Silverstone and Jared Leto, who were better known as "the girl from the Aerosmith music videos" and "the guy from 'My So-Called Life" respectively, when this film first aired on Showtime in 1994. It is also directed by Ralph Bakshi, whose previous films, all of which were fully or mostly animated, included "Fritz The Cat" (1972), "Heavy Traffic" (1973), and the animated "Lord of the Rings" (1977). These films were not to everyone's taste. However, you couldn't deny the ambition that went into these films, nor could you not respect Bakshi's taste for the unorthodox and his steadfast refusal of the cinema status quo.
"Cool and the Crazy" is not animated, which will surprise many Bakshi fans. It is also poorly acted and written, and is by far the most half-baked film Bakshi ever put out. Given the bright futures of its two young stars and the good reputation of Bakshi, it comes as a huge disappointment.
If you find "Cool and the Crazy" on DVD, you may not know how or why it was released. It originally aired part of Showtime's "Rebel Highway" series. It was one of ten low-budget made-for-TV movies created as a tribute to the 1950's exploitative B-movies "with a 90's edge". So in a way, this film is supposed to be campy. However, since fewer people had cable back then, let alone a subscription channel like Showtime, and not all of the films featured in "Rebel Highway" have received DVD releases yet, you wouldn't know that fact unless you did Internet research like I did. Regardless, being intentionally campy and low- budget is no excuse for an underdeveloped story.
Silverstone and Leto play Roslyn and Michael, two '50's teenagers who get married right out of high school at the same time (in the same ceremony even) as Roslyn's best friend, Joannie (Jennifer Blanc). One year later, Roslyn and Michael have a baby, and Michael is struggling to make ends meet with his job. Roslyn, fed up with her humdrum lifestyle as a housewife, goes out on the town with Joannie every night. Both women cheat on their husbands more than once, and Michael gradually gets more suspicious of Joannie.
There's a good setup here for a story. Unfortunately, both Silverstone and Leto are very unconvincing as teenagers in the '50's, and as a distraught married couple. Silverstone looks and acts more like a teen of the '90's, and even wears her hair like a '90's girl would. She also seems really jaded when her character should be agonizing over the monotony of her married life.
Leto is not too bad in his role, but it's interesting how he suspects Joannie and doesn't really seem to know her that well. Did the two couples not get married together as the first scene shows? Plus, they live close to each other, so wouldn't they know each other pretty well?
Such an unexplained plot point grows even bigger when Joannie's husband, Frankie (Bradford Tatum) discovers Joannie's infidelity. Leto acts like he doesn't even know him when he arrives at their apartment. To make the scene even more forced, Frankie, when trying to get through a crowd of neighbors who gather around to see what the noise is all about, parts the crowd by making an laughably-awkward scream. It sounds like a crow after being hit by a golf ball.
Eventually, it turns out that one of the men Roslyn sleeps with, Joey (Mathew Flint) is psychotic. At first, Roslyn is turned on by Joey's bad boy image, but he gets too attached to her, not even leaving her alone when Roslyn calls the whole thing off.
There is a chase where Michael goes after Joey directly following his kidnapping of Roslyn. There is also a enticing sex scene between Michael and his co-worker, Lorraine (the beautiful Christine Harnos from "Dazes and Confused" (1993)). With both scenes, you're supposed to root for Roslyn and Michael not to drift apart, I guess. However, they make such a miserable couple that I sort of wished Michael would have run off with Lorraine. Instead, the ending was a bit of a cop out, and was way too over the top. The resolution was even worse at the end.
Seeing as how Bakshi made this film, I wondered if I would have been more interested in it if it were animated. Considering drawing a scene is much harder than pointing a camera at live humans, I'm guessing more thought would have been put into the story that way. Instead, we get characters that are so underdeveloped that we don't care about them, the acting is sub par, and in the end, you have a very forgettable film. It's good that Silverstone and Leto had better roles waiting for them in the next few years to come. In Silverstone's case, if you liked "Clueless", you should stay away from this film.
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