Crazy on the Outside: Tim Allen’s Irritating Directorial Debut


After an impressive dramatic turn against type in David Mamet’s Redbelt, tool fetishist Tim Allen returns to lowest-common-denominator comedy as the star of his own ill-advised, irritating directorial debut. Fresh out of the pen, convicted video pirate Tommy Zelda (Allen) moves in with his tough-love sis (Sigourney Weaver) and her oversexed, cynical hubby (J.K. Simmons), who have perpetuated a lie to Grandma that our boy’s been in France for three years—zing! Tommy pines for his gold-digger ex (Julie Bowen), who still wants to fuck him on the side, even while engaged to an insecure consumer-electronics salesman (Kelsey Grammer). Will Tommy be able to move on, avoid the illegal temptations of his former accomplice (Ray Liotta), rebuild his late dad’s painting business, and hook up with his sexy probation officer (Jeanne Tripplehorn), whose little-leaguer son has taken a shine to him? Given Allen’s pre-fame background—he turned state’s evidence to lessen a coke-possession sentence in the ’70s—one might think Crazy on the Outside had the potential for a poignant, quasi-autobiographical tale about starting over. Instead, we get charmless hack work from two sitcom writers, a phoned-in ensemble, and a vanity role for Allen that could certainly be called criminal.