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Crazy on the Outside
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is a romantic comedy, and the directorial debut of actor/comedian Tim Allen (The Santa Clause, the voice of "Buzz Lightyear" in the Toy Story movies). It contains some mature material, but its overall messages are positive and should be fine for older teens, even though it's aimed more at grown-ups. Profanity is fairly heavy, with one use of "f--k" and several uses of "s--t," and there are constant, comical sexual situations, though no nudity.
What's the story?
Tommy (Tim Allen) has just served three years in prison for video piracy. He moves in with his sister (Sigourney Weaver) and attempts to rebuild his life, starting by taking up his father's old painting business. Unfortunately, his sister has set up an elaborate system of lies that Tommy must attempt to live up to. His former partner in crime (Ray Liotta) wants him back. And his ex-girlfriend -- whom he thought was dead -- wants to have an illicit affair with him. Worse, his pretty parole officer (Jeanne Tripplehorn) wants him to work at a fast food restaurant; he starts to develop feelings for her, but her past baggage, as well as his history as a criminal, prevents her from opening up to him. Can Tommy juggle all these stumbling blocks, resist temptation, build his own business, and settle down with the right girl?
Is it any good?
Tim Allen's feature directorial debut -- he once directed an episode of "Home Improvement" -- is at once innocuous as well as inoffensive. He doesn't necessarily rely on childish slapstick, even if he includes strong language and sexual situations. But he also doesn't really take any chances; he conjures up a fairly standard romantic comedy in which a poor, lost, sad-sack must decide on the right girl, avoid temptation and trouble, listen to dunderheaded advice from his friends and relations, and still come out the other side.
As a result of this safety, there are few genuine laughs or surprises here, but there are some heartfelt performances, and some warm moments from a cast of talented character actors. Allen's movie has its heart in the right place, and it winds up as a fairly inspirational comedy, without being truly memorable.