The sort of small, picturesque production that has become more and more scarce with the Hollywood-ization of independent film, CRAZY LIKE A FOX is goodhearted, family-friendly entertainment with a distinctly Southern flavor. Veteran British actor Roger Rees is given ample opportunity to ham it up as Nat Banks, whose Virginia farm has been handed down through seven generations. After an accident involving his horses eating a large amount of corn, he finds himself in dire financial straits and must put the compound up for sale. Enter Will and Ellie Sherman, ruthless yuppie Northerners from Washington who buy the farm, promising they will not raze the decrepit antebellum mansion and will allow Nat to stay on as farm manager. When they unapologetically renege on the deal and announce their plans to build several new homes on the property, newly homeless Nat dons an old Confederate uniform and moves into a cave in the forest while the community plots a way to show the Shermans that a person's word carries great weight below the Mason-Dixon line.
First-time director Richard Squires gives us beautiful Virginia scenery and an old-fashioned morality tale that enjoyably walks the line between screwball comedy and light drama. In a performance he appears to be relishing, Rees makes Nat sympathetic even when his actions border on the psychotic, and Mary McDonnell (DANCES WITH WOLVES) adds another soulful supporting role to her distinguished list of credits. Filmgoers looking for explosions and high-tech hijinks certainly aren't the audience for CRAZY LIKE A FOX, but those who yearn for the days when a small film could open gradually and do well based on positive word of mouth will find a quiet, appealing entertainment here.