Blu-ray Review: Crazy on the Outside (2010)

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Three years after Tim Allen's Tommy was sent to the slammer for pirating Lars and the Real Girl for Ryan Gosling entertainment deprived Chinese citizens, he's released back into the world only to discover – like many cons – that life isn't exactly a Ryan Gosling chick flick when you're in front of instead of behind those prison bars.

Thrust into another grand scheme that was hatched spontaneously during an inspired viewing of Gigi by his sister Viki (Sigourney Weaver), Tommy discovers that his cover story to their elderly grandmother is not that he's been doing time in stripes but spending three years for work abroad in France.

Although he doesn't speak a word of the language and he isn't quite up on the full phony back-story that also includes a fake fiance who's involved in the French space program, Tommy plays along, anxious to make something of his life with the hope of restarting his deceased father's old painting company.

Stuck working in a pirate themed fast food joint in the interim – an ironic touch for the writers to make the former DVD pirate into a fry-cook pirate – Tommy's life gets even crazier on the outside when old contacts including his partner in crime Ray Liotta and an old flame (Ed's Julie Bowen) surprise him out of the blue bearing all sorts of propositions involving new Chinese connections and a love affair under the nose of wealthy flat screen TV salesman Kelsey Grammer.

Determined to get his life back on track in a way that's far less complicated than one of Viki's forever evolving scenarios, Tommy realizes that life has plans of its own that don't follow the Big House rules especially when he becomes attracted to his parole officer (Jeanne Tripplehorn).

While traditionally it'd be safe to assume that – given this much talent from Allen's old TV stomping ground -- Crazy on the Outside was the result of favors being called in to make the funny man's directorial debut a reality -- the bottom line is aside from a few lapses in tone, Crazy is just flat out funny, thanks primarily due to the zany screwball inspired script.

However, particular thanks is owed to Allen's Galaxy Quest co-star Weaver whose talent as a comedienne is sorely undervalued except by those like Allen and Heartbreakers co-star Ray Liotta with whom she proves she can volley with the best of them and her on-screen Crazy husband J.K. Simmons (Juno) is no exception.

Despite some of the predictable plot-points, the humor always surprises and Allen's sheer likability as a genuine nice guy trying to go straight – even if he uses the most extreme ways of proving just that – makes him quite an easy hero for whom to root in this little-seen independently made title recently released to DVD and Blu-ray with exclusive retail store engagements via 20th Century Fox.

Crazy on the Outside is presented in a nice clean and crisp transfer that serves the film well in duplicating a theatrical experience most of us were unable to explore since Allen's film had an extremely limited run.

In addition to Fox's typical Blu-ray excellence, Outside also contains a short behind-the-scenes extra and a ho-hum gag reel that incidentally showcases Allen's professionalism in remaining collected while others crack up to save money and prevent wasted film stock, in case Allen and company decide to make a Ryan Gosling pirate feature as his follow-up directorial effort.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.