New York Magazine


Crazy Love
  Release Date: 06/08/07

Starring: Burt Pugach, Linda Pugach

Director: Dan Klores, Fisher Stevens

Rating: (PG-13)
  Running Time
  91 min
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Dan Klores's amazing documentary Crazy Love opens with talking heads—old talking heads who reminisce about a tumultuous love affair of half a century ago. No ageism intended, but that by itself feels odd: the juxtaposition of these people and their somewhat tacky coiffures with vivid photos of their glamorous younger selves, accompanied by squealing bebop that evokes the sexy repression and release of late fifties. We meet old and young Burt Pugach, a wealthy ambulance-chaser who falls hard for Linda Riss, a dark-eyed beauty he spies on a park bench. Burt makes up for in determination what he lacks in looks. He takes Linda up in his plane, gives her a taste of life among the swells in a nightclub he co-owns (the rapturous song "Linda" is a leitmotif)—and, when this resolute virgin discovers he's married, promises to leave his wife for her.

Given Klores's sly deadpan and all these bewigged middle-class people who look and sound like your grandparents in Florida (Linda wears outlandish sunglasses), it takes some time to realize we're in a maelstrom—going down down down into a saga of obsession, sadism, masochism, and codependency that was and remains one of the great, sick tabloid stories of all time. For those who've never heard of Burt and Linda, I'll let Klores spring his jack-in-the-boxes—and let your jaw drop as low as mine did.

The movie distills every functionally dysfunctional relationship you've ever had into one horrific case study. And yet it has a happy ending, of a sort—the sociopath domesticated, the sadist and masochist exchanging roles. Klores has said that he wants Crazy Love to be a date movie, something to ruminate aloud on with your sweetie over drinks. If your date finds the relationship a turn-on, however, you should think about changing your phone number. —Reviewed by David Edelstein, New York Magazine