Starring Nick Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Felicity Huffman, Kathy Bates, William H. Macy, William Fichtner, Grant Gustin, Jacob Latimore, T.I.
The title of this film is incorrectly called Krystal for a number of reasons. First, it might as well be an extension of Macy’s television show Shameless. I’ve never seen the show, in full disclosure, but the IMDB premise “An alcoholic man lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children cope as best they can,” could really apply here if you change that to two children. Macy is also the director on Krystal with his Oscar nominated wife Huffman in a small part. The lead belongs to Love Simon breakout star Nick Robinson in one of his less impressive performances. Krystal is supposed to be an ironic comedy with a bunch of zany characters, but all the subplots and characters thrown in to boost the marquee, turn things messy.
Taylor Ogburn (Robinson) suffers from a heart condition that pretty much prohibits him from doing anything involving stress. The 18-year-old doesn’t last but a few moments when a stranger named Krystal (Dawson) approaches him on the beach asking for a ride. It’s Taylor that receives a ride, to the hospital, where he falls madly in love with the former stripper and recovering alcoholic. Twice his age and dealing with her own demons, Krystal can’t shake the persistent Taylor who follows her to AA meetings. When the Ogburn family gets involved in the akward relationship, things get even messier, that’s when Krystal’s psychotic ex-boyfriend (T.I.) shows up.
Condensing the elaborate world of colorful characters could have streamlined Krystal into something more appetizing
Krystal feels more like an entire season of Shameless deleted scenes, rolled into a 90- minute movie, making it more sitcom than feature film. Screenwriter Will Aldis hasn’t had much luck in Hollywood; 2002’s Avenging Angelo his only other noteworthy credit. Condensing the elaborate world of colorful characters could have streamlined Krystal into something more appetizing. Bates role is thrown in with little to no relevance on the main plot. Robinson’s South Carolina accent sounds like he is trying too hard and never looks comfortable with anything he’s pronouncing. Character actor Fichtner (12 Strong) provides some comic relief, but his doctor figure ends up being the most ridiculous inclusion of them all.
By the time we get to the third act, we have seen fantasy elements where people are seeing the devil, murder plots, love triangles, wild family antics, a cancer scare, and religious themes to name a few. Dawson’s Krystal isn’t even the main focus of the film, but Macy tries to rally everything behind her character in the end to justify the title. Krystal is a spastic movie jumping from one scenario to another, constantly forgetting whose point of view the story originated from. Macy’s directorial debut Rudderless (2014) was far more sophisticated and level handed than what’s been produced here. Macy seems to have been a one hit wonder behind the camera.
This eclectic ensemble cast is wasted on an unfocused script and an actor/director that can’t make sense of the chaos.