The back of the box for Crazy in Alabama makes it out to be a comedy, but it is not. The trailer makes it out to be a comedy, but it is not. Lucille's (Melanie Griffith) adventure to Hollywood is made out to be a comedy, but it really is not.
The one flaw of Crazy in Alabama is that it is trying to be something it isn't, and it doesn't even really need to be. It does have some funny elements, such as the fact that Melanie Griffith is driving to Hollywood with her husband's head in a hat box, and that the head keeps on talking to her. In fact, it looks as though most of her adventure was supposed to be a comedy, but there are barely enough jokes to suggest that. The only way you can tell that that was what Banderas was trying to do is the fact that her adventure is by no means a drama. But the rest of the movie is, and Melanie Griffith doesn't even seem like the star of the show. It is Lucas Black who steals the show as 12-year old Peejoe, a boy who is torn between helping his Aunt Lucille and helping the law, and standing up for what he believes in or letting the sheriff get away with murdering a black kid. It is here that Banderas presents the real side of the movie, a story about racism.
As for Banderas' directorial debut, I have mixed feelings about his approach. Sometimes his style really shines and other times, it seems as though he has gone overboard. He uses a lot of slow motion shots and interesting camera angles to which I commend him, but at the same time, I can't help but think that he is just shoving it in our faces to show us that he can do it. It seems as though some of the more artsy shots are just an attempt to show what Banderas is made of, and at some points, it even looks similar to his Desperado director Robert Rodriguez.
The acting in the movie is really good, although Melanie Griffith's character gets annoying at time. She is a little crazy at times, especially considering the fact that she is lugging her husband's head around whom she thinks is talking to her. Lucas Black really shines and so does David Morse, as Lucille's brother.
Crazy in Alabama will never stand out against other films but it does have some good moments. Overall, this movie is pretty enjoyable, especially the parts about the racial tensions in the south.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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