Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In the alleged comedy ‘Crazy on the Outside’ we meet Tommy (Tim Allen) who is being released after a three year stint in the hoosegow, with Tommy claiming to be a changed man. We gotta say that Tommy looks like he’s in his mid-fifties and if you’re a habitual criminal as old as Tommy is, we seriously question if one such as this can actually change, but we’re going to go with it because they asked us to. Tommy is picked up by his beloved sister Vicky (Sigourney Weaver) and taken to her home to deal with her disapproving husband Ed (J.K. Simmons) and granny (Helen Slayton Hughes) who believes Tommy has been on sabbatical in France. While actress Helen Slayton Hughes isn’t a young woman, she ain’t nearly old enough to be takes seriously as Tim Allen’s and Sigourney Weaver’s grandma, but we’re going go with it because they are asking us to.

Being an ex-con and all Tommy has to meet with his probation officer, a lovely woman named Angela (Jean Tripplehorn) who is a total hard ass but she does have a soft spot for her little boy Ethan (Kenton Duty) who likes to hang around her office populated by ex-cons. Worst mom ever. Tommy is trying to convince the woman that he’s a changed man and that he has a dream of re-starting his late father’s paint business, but being the hard ass that she is Angela thinks Tommy is like every other con that she has to deal with and dispatches Tommy to work fries a the local Pirate Burger.

Also in Tommy’s life is his best friend Gray (Ray Liotta) who he took the fall for three years back in their DVD pirating business, and Gray wants him back in the game. Plus Tommy has tracked down his ex-girlfriend Christy (Julie Bowen) who he desperately wants back in his life despite the fact she’s engaged to be married to Frank the Electronics magnate (Kelsey Grammer).

Tommy is finding life back on the outside really difficult, but he trudges on dutifully working at Pirate Burger, getting a few house painting gigs on the side assisted by fellow ex-cons Edgar (John Gries) and Rick (Malcolm Goodwin) and even finding a little love connection with his angry parole officer despite her best efforts to resist the ex-cons charms. He is a con girlfriend. It’s what they do.

Now things are really looking up for the convict, but of course it can’t last. A misunderstanding here, a stolen jewel there, Ray Liotta chewing up a scene on one side, a cute kid stealing a scene on the other side and now it looks like the darkness has claimed Tommy once again unless somehow, someway he can be pulled back to the light.

Yeah, this movie kinda sucked a little bit. That being said Tim Allen’s directorial debut did engage in the completely unethical practice I call ‘The Cocktail Factor’. Years ago after exiting theater after seeing the absolutely putrid flick ‘Cocktail’, the last scene in that awful movie was actually funny which had the people exiting the theater laughing which tricked the people in the lobby into thinking that we just saw a funny movie and probably made a couple of them buy a ticket. In ‘Crazy on the Outside’ the movie itself was largely unfunny, despite the presence of some genuinely funny people, but the last scene was kind of funny topped off by one of those closing credits scenes being really funny. Now in today’s age of instant info I doubt audiences can be tricked into seeing a crap movie the way we were tricked back in 1988 with ‘Cocktail’ but just to let you know the last scene in this movie was funny.

I guess we have to blame the severe lack of funny in this movie on the screenwriters and Tim Allen himself since he was guiding this nonsense but damn, Tim Allen is a professional funny man so one would think that he should’ve been able to do something with this movie to make it funnier. True enough the script that was driving this movie was stupid and predictable but then ‘Blazing Saddles’, arguably the greatest comedy of all time, had a basic story that was stupid and predictable so why did this movie fail to be funny? Mind you when someone walks into a movie, based on the presence of folks like Tim Allen, John Gries, Kelsey Grammer et. al, we only expect to laugh, not to be challenged intellectually or engaged emotionally. It’s not Kurosawa. If those things should happen, then good for us but ultimately we just want to laugh. Almost none of the jokes worked in this movie. Nothing. Then you had the brother and sister standing in front of the old family truck talking about how they got their cherries popped in that truck. Then they tossed in the comment that mom lost her cherry in that truck too. That’s not supposed to be funny is it? That’s icky. Who in the hell would have a conversation like that with their sister? I’d slap the snot out of my sister if she started breaking down to me her and my mom’s sexual romps, but that qualifies as humor in this one.

There was some unintended humor such as Angela telling Tommy ‘Don’t take it personal but my son is looking for something and I just don’t want him to find it in you’. Sure, that’s not personal at all. Or the fact that the little punk kept trying to hook his mom up with ex-cons. This is what happens when you let your son hang around the office filled with ex-cons.

Oh well, what we have with ‘Crazy on the Outside’ is a collection of funny people combined with some good actors all dumped in a movie that wasn’t funny. Plus we love Tim Allen over here because he’s a local home boy who has done well for himself despite a personal stay in the hoosegow so it brings us no joy to crap on his movie. Whaddayagonnado?

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