Written and directed by Lorenzo Benitez, as the world locks down, Frank (Zak Benedek) retreats into total isolation, refusing to leave his apartment to accept even deliveries. While working from home, Frank’s boss suggests that, for as long as quarantine lasts, they end each week with “Crazy Hat Friday”, which Frank embraces.
There are a few experiences which are universal, almost every person on the planet can relate to, love, heartbreak, loss and as of the last couple years, isolation and extreme boredom, which Crazy Hat Fridays easily tunes into. It captures the claustrophobia, repetitive atmosphere, desperation, frustration, forced human contact, and laziness mixed with attempts to try new things. It’s vastly relatable, with the exception of doing your work calls naked from the waist down, that takes a certain level of messy confidence not everyone has. It also strikes a good note with its ending, but for the most part it’s one-noted, there isn’t a larger touch of individuality to the writing style or the lead character. The result is that everything works but doesn’t make a big impression.
Visually, it’s quite similar, the style leans heavily on the montage, flowing from one random activity to the next, which again while it works, doesn’t stand out. The colour scheme is a lot of the same, with the exception of some vivacious shirts, but it’s a double-edged sword, doing its job of capturing the monotony of lockdown but consequently giving up an aesthetic with more personality. A touch of extra energy, whether it be mixing up the angles more, adding a dose of quirk, leaning more on the comedy or otherwise, it could have elevated what is a solid concept to begin with.
However, one of the interesting things it does bring up is the depressing nature of creating ‘clickable’ content, especially when viewed through the lens of isolation. Cute, funny videos that entertain the masses but have nothing to really add, inform or educate, just a way to pass time that become a swiping obsession. As well as pointing out the lengths people will go to when extremely bored, that don’t always end well.
Crazy Hat Fridays is a very relatable illustration of lockdown, tapping into the typical frustrations felt in countless countries during long periods of isolation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add more original or individual qualities, it follows a known pattern. It’s enjoyable and the writing does take an entertaining turn but the comedy is mostly underemphasised and the direction solid but safe. It’s a good concept that just needed an extra push to set it apart.