Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Opens locally Friday, July 29th, 2011
Run Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon
Directed by John Requa & Glen Ficarra (I Love You Phillip Morris)
Cal is a schlub of a man, played by Steve Carell, a character that Carell has played countless times. He is happily married with children, that is, until his wife (Julianne Moore) suddenly asks for a divorce...she's bored and unhappy with him. Cal's teenage babysitter is in love with him, and his son is in love with the babysitter. Cal goes to a bar to drink away his problems when he's noticed by the sexy womanizer, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), and taken under his wing to learn how to pick up women. Hannah (Emily Stone) is a young girl waiting for her boyfriend to propose, not because she really loves him, but because it would kind of be nice if someone liked her like that.
"Crazy, Stupid, Love" takes all of these above strings, tangles them up, shakes them out, and weaves them into a decent, if not perfect romantic comedy. The title of the film says it all...these 3 words are interchangeable at times, are they not?
Romantic Comedies have been beaten up in recent years, as we have seen the same storyline unravel so many times it's to the point of nausea. While this film doesn't really tackle new ground, it does things well. We've seen films where a sensitive dork is transformed into a ladies man. We've seen films where the ladies man transforms into a sensitive person after finding a "game-changer." We've seen the worn out married couple, and the childish crushes. Again, nothing new.
But what "Crazy, Stupid, Love" does best is in how it cleverly connects the dots between the storylines. Without giving anything away, let's just say that there are twists and revelations, all that end up making sense in the end. The film is not without contrivances and moments where you might think "seriously?" It is also not an overly romantic film nor is it all together funny. It has a light tone that reminded me of an earlier Steve Carell movie, "Dan In Real Life," and is no where near the laugh-a-minute pace of other Carell films such as "The 40 Year Old Virgin." Still, it is infectious because it feels real, or at least it does by the time you arrive at the end.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa create a somewhat uneven balance between the characters, and the movie lacks the quirky spirit of their first film, last year's "I Love You Phillip Morris." They are spared by brilliant actors at the movie's center: The lovely Julianne Moore who can show years of regret in a single look, and not to discard Steve Carell, a comedic actor who has serious acting chops. The two's failing marriage is the emotional center of the film, and they have undeniable chemistry.
Crazy as it may sound, I was not in love with "Crazy, Stupid, Love", but it was well-acted enough and was unpredictable in all the right ways, making it a stand-out in the recent rom-com genre. Everything I thought about the film while watching it changed by the end...and when you can't guess where a romantic comedy is going, that is truly a breath of fresh air.
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