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LAFF 17: Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town

Let’s get one thing out of the way – Mackenzie Davis is bound for greatness. After a brilliant, mesmerizing turn in the underrated 2016 gem Always Shine, two of her upcoming projects include the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 and the next Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody collaboration, Tully. Before all of that, however, she leads a fantastic cast of characters in the electrifying Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town, the debut feature from writer-director Christian Papiernack that is as every bit as fearless and bold as its title. From the very moment it begins, Izzy grabs you by the throat and simply refuses to let go.

For 86 brisk minutes, Papiernack wastes not a single second, going at full throttle as we try to keep up with Izzy zipping through Los Angeles. Of course, this journey isn’t without a few – or ten – speed bumps. She wakes up naked and hungover in the bed of a total stranger, not knowing where the hell she is or what exactly happened, serving as the perfect introduction to a protagonist who’s impulsive, a bit too careless, and an obvious disaster of a human being. As she gets dressed, her catering uniform from the night before is bloodied, but Izzy doesn’t care enough to relive that story, shrugging it off as if it’s too boring for her.

Things really get going when Izzy discovers that her ex-best friend is getting married to none other than her ex-boyfriend, but she refuses to go down without a fight, making it her life goal to crash the engagement party and put things to a halt. The only thing is, she’s all the way on the other side of town, and worse yet, her car is in repair. Not to mention, she’s only got five hours until the party of her nightmares begins. It’s the perfect formula for disaster, and with such a mess of a protagonist leading the charge, Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town doesn’t skip a beat, never a dull moment and infused with as much poignancy as there is humor.

Like a mixtape, Izzy is split into ten rollicking chapters as she miraculously makes her way through the neighborhoods in between, inching closer to her destination as she meets an eccentric, yet nuanced set of Los Angeles clichés along the way. Each encounter with every supporting character brings out a different side to Izzy, revealing more of her story that she seemingly refuses to face. “You’re a fucking mess,” she’s repeatedly told, with those around her trying to force her to face the music and get her shit together, but Izzy doesn’t care or want to hear it. Little by little, however, she must ultimately come to terms with the harsh realities of having to grow up. She can only cling to the glory days of her youth for so long until it all falls apart, slipping through her fingers like sand in an hourglass.

Yes, Izzy is deeply flawed and occasionally insufferable. But her persistence, hardheadedness, and refusal to grow up are relatable in more ways than one. She thinks she knows what she wants, thinks she knows what will ultimately give her joy, but she’ll have to understand that all this time, she’s been heading in the wrong direction. She’ll face more than one painful revelation, but perhaps it’s exactly what she needs to move on and grow. Davis embodies Izzy with such commitment, giving her every bit of neuroses that the character begs for, all while expertly portraying the pain Izzy is clearly so riddled with just beneath her frenzied surface. It’s yet another dizzying performance from an actor bursting at the seams with an undeniable versatility and energy, and the material serves her talents very well, giving her plenty to play with.

Papiernak himself clearly knows his way around Los Angeles, perfectly capturing its essence and characters with a humorous, yet thoughtful touch. It’s only until the film’s climax that such a kinetic story does start to lag, but when it also brings out Davis’s best, most cathartic moment in the film, it’s almost forgivable. While every second is filled with pure chaos and humor, moments of sincerity are also sprinkled throughout in equal measure, making Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town as exciting as it is touching.

7/10

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Nix Santos is a writer based in Los Angeles. You can find her on Twitter @_nixsantos.