Izzy Gets The F*** Across Town (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
Mackenzie Davis is a national treasure.
The title alone will turn some heads, and the film retains a manic energy about it that will hook a lot of viewers.
The cameos are fun, writer/director Christian Papierniak has talent, and for 86 minutes, this is a brash, free-wheeling comedic adventure.
A critic for IndieWire described this movie as about as punk rock as Hot Topic. As a result, the movie may seem as something of a “poser” when it comes to establishing its punk-rock bonafides.
I wouldn’t say these are characters who are all that likable, and may become grating for some less patient or tolerant viewers.
The premise is not all that unique and, at its core, Izzy is borne from an idea that has been made countless times before.
She may have had a song all over SiriusXM four years ago, and killed it at South By Southwest three years ago, but on the day we meet Izzy (Mackenzie Davis), she wakes up in a stranger’s bed, unsure where she is, and minutes away from learning that her ex-boyfriend Roger (Alex Russell) is having his engagement party that night.
Determined to make one last bid to see him, Izzy has to get all the way across Los Angeles, with seemingly no means to do so.
And this begins the debut film of writer/director Christian Papierniak, a scattered, free-wheeling series of vignettes and sequences which show our title character, in a horribly stained catering uniform from the night before, visiting friends and crashing into strangers on her quest.
Davis (last seen in Tully), one of the best young actors working today, owns this movie, teetering between desperation, longing, self-loathing, and hitting comedic and dramatic beats effortlessly. She even sings a duet with sister Virginia (Carrie Coon), that stops the movie dead in its tracks, producing a moment of tangible connection Izzy has been craving for far longer than the one day we spend with her.
We learn that Izzy’s move to the City of Angels was to pursue music, but like so many, she lost her way. A bad breakup with Roger likely accelerated this, as he is marrying her former best friend (Sarah Goldberg), and she wants to ruin their engagement. During this fateful day, Izzy has also learned that not only are her roommates (Meghan Lennox, Sheldon Bailey) evicting her with 48 hours’ notice, but her car won’t be ready for at least another week from mechanic friend Dick (Brandon T. Jackson).
The quest becomes more desperate. Lakeith Stanfield, Haley Joel Osment, and Alia Shawkat add to the list of cameos, and the movie works really, really hard to preserve an edgy, provocative tone, which Papierniak’s script doesn’t always achieve. Occasional randomness impedes the film’s progress at times, but Davis keeps us engaged and focused, even as Izzy starts to come to terms with her actions and tries to make sense over whether what she wants is right, wrong, or fair.
Davis seems to shoulder much of the film’s vitriol, which Papierniak tries to amplify aesthetically with punk rock music and unnecessary title cards, separating the film into chapters. If anything, his ambition overwhelms his execution, but our ability to hang in through the bittersweet end, a stark contrast to everything that happens before it, is a testament to how strong Mackenzie Davis is as an actor.
CAST & CREW
Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Alia Shawkat, Haley Joel Osment, Carrie Coon, Meghan Lennox, Sheldon Bailey, Lakeith Stanfield, Annie Potts, Sarah Goldberg, Rob Huebel, Brandon T. Jackson, Dolly Wells.
Director: Christian Papierniak
Written by: Christian Papierniak
Release Date: June 22, 2018