Brief synopsis: a confident playboy, journalist meets a young woman whilst on a night out with friends. They have a wild night and he is smitten with her but does not know her name or anything about her. He finds out that she is in a mental institution and gets himself admitted to the same facility just to meet her again.
Is it any good? Crazy About Her (Loco Por Ella – original Spanish title) is an enjoyable quirky romcom. With many similarities to 2019’s No Estoy Loco. Crazy About Her sees most of the central cast situated in a mental health institution.
Moving at a good pace and with good acting from all on show, Crazy About Her is an amusing and touching rom-com.
Spoiler territory: In a bar, Adri (Álvaro Cervantes) is telling Laura (Paula Malia), a friend and a struggling actress and Sergio (Eduardo Auntuña) how to get what they want in life. Sergio points out to him that his father gave him a job straight out of university. Adri is unfazed by their arguments.
He tells them that he can pick up any woman in the bar if he wants to and challenges them to pick a target for him. They point to a blonde woman at the bar. Adri, bulletproof confidence in abundance, immediately heads towards the woman they pointed out.
Halfway across the bar, a woman (Susana Abaitua) bumps into him. She apologises profusely, thinking she has caused him to spill his drink. Adri tells her that he does not have a drink. She offers to buy him one. He hesitates, looking at the blonde at the bar. She asks him if he was planning to hit on her. Adri tells her about his wager with his friends.
The woman tells him that she has a similar wager with her friends, pointing to a table of women across the bar. She goes to the bar. She asks Adri if he wants to spend the night with her, no strings, just a night of fun. He is reluctant but when she challenges his bravery, he agrees.
She takes him to a hotel and sees that there is a wedding in attendance. She decides to crash the wedding to get free food and drink. At the wedding, it is obvious that they are not meant to be there as they are the only white people in an all-black wedding. Unperturbed, the woman even dares to make a speech at the wedding.
They party with the guest and later retire to a hotel suite to make love. The room is the bridal suite and they are caught by the shocked newlyweds. They make a quick exit. Outside of the hotel, the woman leaves Adri, driving off on the motorcycle they came on. She drops her jacket.
The next day, Adri calls Laura. He tells her that he had the best night of his life but does not know anything about the woman he was with; not her name nor where she lives. He ends the call as he arrives for a meeting at work. The magazine editor, Andrés (Alberto San Juan) wants to hear some ideas. As Andrés dismisses and bullies the staff, he favours Adri, even telling another writer, Ana (Rocío León) to give her article to him.
Adri begins to struggle with his existence, pining for the woman he had the fantastical night with. He tells Laura and Sergio about his woes. Laura tells him that he is in love. She asks him if he checked her jacket. Adri dismisses the notion; of course he checked her jacket.
Laura checks the jacket. She finds a name and address. The woman’s name is Carla. Adri heads to the address immediately. He finds out that the place is a mental institution. He glimpses a drugged up Carla and calls to her. She looks up and smiles at him. The staff throw him out.
Laura takes Adri to see an old acting friend of hers, Rodri (Ferran Rañé), who is a doctor. He gets a certificate saying he is suffering from depression and other ailments. He tells Andrés that he going do an article on the psychiatric centre.
Adri gets booked into the centre after meeting the centre director (Clara Segura). The doctor shows him around the facility and tells him the monthly rate. He can have one visitor and one phone call per month. He is roomed with a longtime resident, Saúl (Luis Zahera).
As Saúl shows him around again, Adri asks about Carla. He finds her in a room painting with other residents. She does not recognise him. She is distressed when he explains who he is. She tells him that it was only meant to be one night. She does not want to see him. Adri, realising she is serious, tries to leave.
He is stopped by the centre staff. He is told he can only be released by the director. He goes to see her again and tells her he was lying and that everything he told her was a lie. She does not believe him. He tells her to call the magazine. She calls the magazine and the disgruntled Ana picks up. She tells the doctor that Adri does not work there. Adri is forced to start.
Back in the room, he is sharing, Adri tells Saúl he needs to get out. He is told the only way to get out is to jump out of a three-storey window. Adri decides against it. He calls Laura and gets her to come and pose as a doctor to try and get him released. She fails.
Adri sees Laura leaving. She tells him that he has to get his article in on that day or he will be fired. Adri dictates an article to her. Adri reluctantly moves around the centre, refusing to take medication whilst still protesting his right to be released. He is told that it is the other patients who decide when a is patient released.
As the days pass, Adri begins to fall into the routine, pretending to take the medication and avoiding Carla. Saúl tells him there is a way he can get out. He needs to get on with the other patients and he has a way to help him do it. He gives him a vial of tablets.
Later that evening, Adri meets Saúl and is taken to a secret poker game between some of the patients. The tablets are currency. At the game are; Marta (Aixa Villagrán) a Tourette’s sufferer, Tina (Tell Aixendri) who believes she is royalty, Victor (Nil Cardoner), a germaphobe and Carla.
Adri tries to sell the idea of them giving each other good scores so they can all get released. Carla tells him that some of them need to be there. Victor goes to the bathroom and Carla and Tina tease Marta for fancying him. Adri asks why does she not just tell him that she likes him. Marta thinks he is mad. Adri says if he helps her to asks Victor out, they must all vote for him in the next meeting.
The next day, Saúl asks Adri to help him. He is to pretend to be a doctor. Saúl’s young daughter, Sara (Iris Vallés) comes to see him, brought by Saúl’s ex (Mireia Portas) and her new husband (Edu Gibert). They are not visiting for very long. Adri leaves them alone.
He sees Carla talking to her parents (Jordi Bosch and Laura Conejero). She is distressed and wants to return to her room but her parents do not want to leave. Adri poses as a doctor once more and gets her away from them.
Adri begins to work with Marta, helping her memorise a phrase so she can talk to Victor. Adri asks why she is in the centre if she only suffers from Tourette’s. Marta tells him that she also suffered from depression. The next day, he encourages her to go and speak to Victor. Marta loses her nerve on the first encounter and runs away.
Carla, who along with the others has been watching, persuades her to go and have another try. Marta tells Victor that she likes him and he responds positively, the two of them getting together. Carla is enamoured by his feat and invites him to meet up with her later. Adri returns to his room to find a distressed Saúl.
Saúl has been told that his ex-wife’s husband does not want him to see Sara anymore, that it is dangerous. Later, Adri finds out from Carla why she is there. She tells him she is bipolar, her moods going from extreme depression to manic euphoria. She never knows when the moods will hit or how.
She tells him that their relationship cannot work. Adri will not give up and tells her he is sure she can overcome her illness. Carla reiterates that they cannot carry on. Adri returns to his room and finds that Saúl has jumped out of the window and escaped the centre. He gets Carla to help him sneak out of the centre to go and look for Saúl.
Carla steals a car and the two go looking for Saúl. Saúl has gone to find his daughter and they catch up with him limping along the road on his way to his ex-wife’s home. Carla tells him that they will do something to make him feel better. She has no idea what. Adri has an idea.
They go to wreck the stepfather’s car. As they are destroying the car outside of the house, Saúl tells them that he does not think that he has a car. They leave and return to the centre. Adri has an opportunity to escape the centre but decides to stay.
Carla takes Adri to her favourite spot in the centre, the roof. Adri is still convinced that Carla can overcome her illness if she really wants to. He tells her that he likes her the more he knows her. The two get together. Carla is happy. They spend a lot of time together and with the group.
Adri has persuaded Carla that she does not need medication. Her mania starts to manifest. At one of their evening poker games, Carla does not show up. Adri goes looking for her and finds her on the roof, her mania raging out of control. Adri grabs her and tells the centre director. Carla gets sedated.
The next day, Carla feels betrayed, especially as he encouraged her to stop taking her medication. Adri’s article comes out. The group shun him. Adri goes to the director who, realising he was telling the truth about lying, signs his release. She tells him that too many people think they know how to help the mentally ill.
Saúl’s ex-wife brings Sara to see him. Adri bids him farewell. Adri writes another article for the magazine, countering his initial article. The group read it but Carla is offended by its sentiments and decides that they need to break out and confront him. Victor creates a diversion and the rest of the group steal a van.
The director and Rosa (Maria Ribera) pursue them. The group manage to lose them. They get to the magazine headquarters and Carla confronts Adri. She wants to know if he is prepared to fight for their love. He tells her that he wants to be with her come what may. They get back together. The end.
Final thoughts: Crazy About You is a lovely film with great performances from the whole cast. Written by Natalia Durán and Eric Navarro and directed by Dani de la Orden, Crazy About Her whizzes through its one-hundred-and-two minute runtime.
Like the aforementioned No Estoy Loco, where this film really works is in the ensemble parts, with the other characters giving the film real heart. The fact that there is no easy route given to the central pairing is a nice touch, the film and writers embracing the fact that what is thought of as normal for the majority is not something that can be forced on everyone.
By no means a perfect film, it still manages to be both emotive and amusing and engaging, whilst tackling a subject that many find difficult to talk about. Abaitua is riveting as the bipolar Carla, making it a little heartbreaking when she explained that it is something that she will always have to live with.
Zahera’s Saúl is similarly touching with his issues preventing him from being with his young daughter. The film is competently lensed by Orden, the wedding scenes being particularly funny. Crazy About You is an enjoyable film and worth a look on a lazy Sunday.