Like Crazy

22 March 2012 | 3:00 pm | Ian Barr

After exchanging a few charged glances in class, Anna (Felicity Jones) asks Jacob (Anton Yelchin) out via a note slipped under his car's windshield wiper. He says yes. They discover they're both only-children on their first date, they take a few swigs of whisky back at her dorm, and sealing their status as an Extremely Uninteresting Couple, they bond over a shared love of Paul Simon's Graceland. And despite only a few generic commonalities – and soft piano keys on the soundtrack working overtime in lieu of tangible romantic chemistry – Like Crazy proceeds to argue that the world depends on them being together.

It almost feels churlish to hate on the film, being a small-scale passion project made to win hearts rather than money or awards, but since it inexplicably took home the main prize at last year's Sundance Film Festival, I'll bite. The most remarkable thing about these two people is that they're in college, despite all onscreen evidence suggesting they're both 15 years old. If writer/director Drake Doremus made their relationship anything greater than a reminder of why people bring headphones on public transport, then maybe the dilemma that turns it into a long-distance one would have some weight. Alas, when Anna is banned from the US for overstaying her visa and forced to move back to England, it comes off as stupidity rather than blind passion.

Jones does her best to make it work, but Yelchin mostly lets his changing facial hair do the heavy-lifting as her counterpart. That their rebound lovers (played by Jennifer Lawrence and Charlie Bewley) are given barely any screentime is supposed to suggest their relative unimportance to the central players' lives – instead it merely lets us entertain the possibility that they've gotta be improvements.