Anna (Felicity Jones) is an aspiring journalist, a wee wisp of a girl come from Britain to study in Los Angeles, where she meets cute with Jacob (Anton Yelchin), a local boy learning furniture design. Like Crazy follows Anna and Jacob's whirlwind romance, then their subsequent breakups and makeups, staged on both sides of the pond, as they're kept apart by diverging career paths, Anna's recurring visa problems and intervening relationships of convenience. (Playing the second-string love interests are Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley, in a well-turned small part as an oblivious, ardent yuppie.)
Director Drake Doremus distills Anna and Jacob's story into fleeting moments and nonverbal cues — transatlantic texting on hesitantly fondled iPhones, uncertain glances, introspective lulls, charmless improvisations — caught by a handheld camera that's forever blunderingly announcing its presence. The idea is to show love in incidentals rather than big scenes, but the fragments selected do not build to any significance — this is a rote story, arbitrarily scattered into abstraction.
Neither of the lovers, as embodied by Jones' and Yelchin's aggressively average, "naturalistic" performances, is particularly interesting, neither alone nor together, and the duo is moreover incapable of generating erotic friction. Lain on a bed of treacly piano music, this l'amour fou is l'amour tepid.
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LIKE CRAZY | Directed by DRAKE DOREMUS | Written by DOREMUS and BEN YORK JONES | Paramount Pictures | ArcLight Hollywood, Landmark