Forgive me, the movie Crazy Heart does not show the continuing adventures of The Dude. It was easy to confuse this adaptation of a Thomas Cobb novel for a sequel of the Coen Brothers classic. The film’s opening scene shows a bearded, overweight Jeff Bridges walking out of his truck into a bowling alley. Further “coincidences” follow. There’s Jeff Bridges driving into a one car accident, smoking pot, passing out in front of a toilet, having an affair with a younger, more attractive woman, a character named Jesus, and lots and lots of drinking. This time the alcoholism isn’t played for laughs, however.
Bridges plays Bad Blake, a former country music star who’s driving his truck from one sad sack western venue to another. Bad Blake will do anything for a swig of whiskey, but the man sure can rock. In spite of sweat stains in his armpits, he’s able to seduce the hottest fiftysomething groupies this side of the Mississippi. When he pours on the charm he can even nab Maggie Gyllenhaal.
But there are lessons Bad Blake needs to learn along the way. Deeper stuff than reclaiming a rug that really tied the room together. He needs to learn to stop drinking. Not for the hot younger chick. But for himself.
The movie does everything it can to slide into mediocrity including throwing Colin Farrell into the mix. But the Dude will not abide.
Just like Mickey Rourke refused to let the Wrestler fall into a middling, melodramatic former champ on the rocks flick, Bridges throws his inner Lebowski on to the tracks stopping what should be a honkeytonk Lifetime movie of the week train wreck. If a lesser actor played Blake, Crazy Heart could have easily been an Alcoholics Anonymous public service announcement. But with The Dude back in action playing some great music no less, it becomes a must see film.