Madeline Zima and Lukas Haas in "Crazy Eyes." (Strand Releasing )
There's laser-like concentration to the indie "Crazy Eyes" — about a rich, young Hollywood Hills hedonist named Zach (Lukas Haas) whose myriad seductions leave him empty — but that doesn't mean the sphere of vision is terribly interesting.
Rather, director/co-writer Adam Sherman's Bukowski-lite character study is one of those exercises in masculine self-pity and glib misogyny that frustrates because of its shortsightedness.
Zach is obsessed with party girl Rebecca — whom he calls Crazy Eyes — and whose mercurial flirtatiousness is given real comic verve by Madeline Zima. But their strange companionship too often takes a back seat to dull, sympathy-loaded side stories involving Zach's bartender best bud (Jake Busey, as you'd expect him to be), an ill father (Ray Wise) and a money-demanding ex.
It often feels as if Sherman doesn't know how to extend the dramatic honesty he affords his male characters — as superficial as it is — to a truly memorable female creation like Rebecca.
In Zima's hands, her damaged-goods sexuality is fizzy and ignitable instead of cookie-cutter psychotic. It's as if the actress took the movie's title as a challenge to divert focus from the drearily self-absorbed male philosophizing everywhere else.
"Crazy Eyes." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. At the Nuart Theatre, West Los Angeles.