I’ve lived in Culver City, worked at Miracle Mile, and have traversed the somewhat tony confines of Los Feliz, and these areas are among the locales spotlighted in director Christian Papierniak’s seductively beguiling Izzy Gets The F**k Of Town. But neither the director or Los Angeles are the stars of the show. The Queen Bee is Mackenzie Davis, and she’s a huge reason for this movie’s creative success.
Izzy’s (Mackenzie Davis) life is an absolute mess. A failed musician who makes ends meet doing odd jobs, she awakens to a stranger’s (Get Out’s Lakeith Stanfield) Santa Monica digs. That’s not even the start of her problems, as this bleary eyed morning brings her the news that ex-boyfriend Roger (Alex Russell) is getting engaged. Our protagonist must now go across town to Los Feliz to crash Roger’s engagement party and hopefully reignite their once inextricable bond.
Since her dilapidated car is being serviced by an unhurried mechanic (Brandon T. Jackson), Izzy struggles to find a ride (she hates public transportation) before the party starts. Much to her dismay, the people she meets along the way (including Haley Joel Osment as her anti-social odd job employer and Alia Shawkat as an extremely complicated woman) don’t offer any lasting help which, considering Izzy’s own difficult personality, may be some sort of karma.
For a healthy portion of the narrative, Izzy’s neurotic and often confrontational behavior, while funny, is sure to turn off the average viewer. Papierniak obviously knows this, and having the supremely talented Davis topline his film is a stroke of genius. Davis’ work in the critically acclaimed (but ultimately underappreciated) series Halt and Catch Fire proves she’s more than capable of turning abrasive characters into likable people. Turning in scene stealing work in Blade Runner 2049 and Tully is definitely a good thing, but seeing her anchor an entire story is a welcome change of pace.
From the outside, Izzy Gets The F**k Across Town seems like a throwaway, comedic adventure that latches itself onto Davis’ magnetism, but this movie has other things on its mind. Izzy’s brief exchange with a Miracle Mile artist named (played in evocative fashion by Annie Potts) suggests there’s much more brewing under the surface, and whether she knows it or not, Izzy may actually be on the right path. Mary’s passion for Siouxsie And The Banshees is also a reason for my unabashed love for this all too short vignette.
Carrie Coon co-stars as Izzy’s sister, who’s now a wife living in the beautiful confines of Hancock Park (she’s married to a nice dude played by Rob Heubel), and this strained sibling rivalry eventually rears its ugly head during a bittersweet reunion. The third act throws a surprising wrench into the road drama proceedings, and while some may view this as jarring, I absolutely bought into this turn of events.
Izzy may be a sarcastic and ultimately whip smart woman who’s a little too lost for her own good, and focusing on her gradual growth rather than the actual plot construct (i.e. will she ever make it to Los Feliz?) gives Izzy Gets The F**K Across Town some surprising depth. Papierniak’s accurate depiction of the labyrinthine jungles of Los Angeles, while it probably won’t be appreciated by most non-Angelenos, is also appreciated.
If you’re looking for some in your face comedy with a defiantly charismatic Mackenzie Davis, this flick should be your jam. Just don’t be surprised if another song, with a much deeper melody, hits you on the way out.
***Izzy Gets The F**K Across Town is now playing in select theaters.
Rating: 4 out of 5