Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town

Studio: Shout! Factory

Sep 28, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Anyone who grew up on a diet of late-90s Miramax releases will probably find something to like in Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town. Although it’s set in the present day, the film doubles as a winning card for anyone playing Cinematic Style Trends Circa 1998 Bingo: Jump cuts! Split screen! Inter-titles! Riot Grrl soundtrack! A protagonist wearing a disheveled suit! A grounded narrative that takes place over a single day but features an undertone of dreamlike magic realism and zany coincidences! Filter all that through a lens of hipster 2018 LA, and you’ve got an approximation of Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town.

Of course, if this movie had actually been made in 1998, Izzy would be a guy and he’d be a low-level criminal trying to get rid of a body or something. Izzy instead stars Mackenzie Davis as an out-of-work musician moonlighting as a waiter who wakes up after a one-night stand to discover that her former best friend is engaged to her ex-boyfriend. With no money, no car and a savage hangover, Izzy embarks on a quest across Los Angeles to ruin their engagement party. Writer/director Christian Papierniak constructs the film that follows as a series of interlinked two-handers between his train wreck of a protagonist and the various friends, enemies and strangers she encounters in her attempts to get to the party. It makes for a choppy experience, with peaks and valleys that mostly correspond to who Davis’s scene partner is at a given moment. LaKeith Stanfield as her laid-back one night stand, Carrie Coon as her estranged sister and Alia Shawkat as a fatalistic burnout are all highlights. Haley Joel Osment as her sad-sack employer and Brandon T. Jackson as her philosophizing mechanic? Not so much. The scene with Jackson’s character is emblematic of the film’s biggest problem: the script just loves to hear itself talk. That’s to be expected in something this derivative of the immediate post-Tarantino film landscape, but much of the dialogue draws too much attention to itself to no discernible end. The fussy artifice of the narrative doesn’t exactly cry out for realism, but the characters and situations are clearly meant to be relatable and that aspect isn’t bolstered when half the characters sound like first-year philosophy majors.

Papierniak isn’t much of a writer, but he and his editor have a knack for scene transitions and bursts of sudden action just when the conversations start to feel interminable. His use of washed-out close-ups, lavender tints and punk rock music cues do an excellent job of evoking 90s music video culture, which keeps the tone consistent even when the quality isn’t. He’s also got a good sense for getting out of the way of his stacked cast, particularly his leading lady. After years of television ensembles and supporting roles in films, Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town probably won’t make Mackenzie Davis an A-lister over night, but it’s an excellent showcase for her particular brand of charmingly deranged enthusiasm. Looking like she stepped off the pages of an indie comic book - short blonde hair, blood-stained white dress shirt, bowtie half undone - Davis does an excellent job of keeping the audience engaged in a character using questionable means to accomplish deeply selfish ends. A lot of it comes down to her comedic range which allows her to bounce between coming off as completely out of control to the normal people she encounters while also playing an excellent straight man to the actual maniacs that cross her path. The performance is so effective that Davis is actually able to earn the dramatic catharsis of the film’s final act in a way that the narrative never could have on its own. If Davis ever becomes a mega-star - and with her starring role in the new Terminator film, it may only be a matter of when - Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town will make for an interesting and imperfect example of her burgeoning star power.



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