Crazy Lovehas a potentially fascinating subject—it is not, however, a fascinating documentary. Writer/director Dan Klores is content to skim the surface of his material—making a compelling story feel like little more than a novel bit of sensationalism.
Crazy Love opens with interviews discussing the relationship between Burt Pugach and Linda Riss, who met in the 1950s and had a brief affair that Linda ended when Burt refused to leave his wife. Today, Linda is a weary, regal old lady who—this is important—tells the story of her relationship with Burt from behind an enormous pair of dark sunglasses. A few minutes into the documentary, we find out that in 1959, after Linda left Burt, he hired a gangster to throw lye in her face, blinding her. Oh... THAT'S why she's wearing sunglasses! But there's more, also revealed sucker-punch style: After Burt served his jail sentence, the two married, and have been together ever since.
It's telling that once the details of Crazy Love are revealed, there's no reason to actually see it—it's like one of those plot-driven beachside novels that are fun the first time, but would never bear rereading. The film's most affecting moments rely on surprising the audience with shocking bits of information—you can almost feel Klores smugly lurking in the wings, thinking, "Didn't see that one coming, did you?"
The doc scans like a recap of the media circus that surrounded the couple for many years, banking that the scandal will seem fresh to modern viewers. And while it is undoubtedly a fascinating story, far too much of the film is devoted to wowing the audience with the scandalicious nature of it all. Far more interesting would have been a deeper look at the relationship today, nearly 50 years later—instead of dry interviews punctuated by summaries of dated tabloid headlines.