Crazy, Stupid, Love. Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon Running Time: 1 hr 58 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: July 29, 2011
PLOT: Emily (Moore) tells Cal (Carell) she wants a divorce. Now Cal must figure out how to move on, and a ladies man (Gosling) helps by taking him under his wing.
WHO'S IT FOR? This one is a pretty big crowd pleaser. It clearly focuses on the laughs that can come from love and heartache.
EXPECTATIONS: It's a great cast with one name sticking out. Gosling's biggest grossing film is The Notebook. Otherwise, he's pretty much Mr. Independent. He's the darkhorse here.
Steve Carell as Cal: He's my new likeable every man. Tom Hanks, for the moment, you've been replaced. Cal doesn't know what to do or how to do it. Apparently he's just been going through the motions. Now that he's single it's a struggle and we're more than happy to watch him go through all of the pain. Luckily, he doesn't quit trying. It's like Cal is taken from the best parts of Date Night and Dan in Real Life to create this lovable loser who becomes more. Score: 9
Ryan Gosling as Jacob: If he wants it, this could be Gosling's gamechanger. Women are going to take notice. Just ask my wife. Here, he plays Jacob, the rare bread of man who can tell a woman he's an ass, and that makes him even more desirable. Jacob has his own baggage but luckily the film never focuses too deeply on it. Whenever Crazy, Stupid, Love. is at its best, Gosling is front and center. Score: 10
Emma Stone as Hannah: She's a sexy dork. Want the perfect example? It's when she's grabbing some cocktails and trying to drink them down way too quickly. It's easy to believe she's unaware of how attractive she is. Dedicated to work, Hannah doesn't have time for guys like Jacob. Eventually, thanks to some prodding from her best friend (Liza Lapira), she takes Jacob for a ride. Yeah, that's right, she attempts to treat him like a piece of meat. Score: 8
Jonah Bobo as Robbie: He's desperately in love with Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). One problem, she's his babysitter. She's 17 and he's 13. With this story, I had a tough time. It felt forced and didn't give me the laughs. I know kids can express love on the big screen (like Thomas Sangster from Love Actually), but it's rare and I didn't love this part. Score: 6
Rest of Cast: While I was rooting for Cal, I never felt like I fully understood Emily (Moore). If you notice in the film, she's dealing with brand new reasons why she has issues with Cal (like the school teacher played by Marisa Tomei) and not enough reasons explaining the past. Tomei is a sex pot and fits in with this role. Kevin Bacon and Josh Groban (yes, seriously) do well with their small roles, keeping it simple. In fact, Groban is so natural as the lawyer/almost boyfriend, you actually strain for a second a go, "Is that? No... Wait, I think that's Josh Groban." Beth Littleford, John Carroll Lynch and Tipton go just a little too broad and too comical for my taste. Score: 7
TALKING: Jacob takes Cal through the ropes of landing ladies. Man, that sentence sounds lame. How am I married again? Anyway, if you're looking to just hook up (and spend a lot of money), Jacob's advice will help. Sure, he says "Let's get out of here," plenty of times, but you never blame him or the ladies for having it work. The best exchange is when Cal says, "You Miyagied Me." I would have liked Cal and Emily to explore their relationship a little bit more, but Carell nails the line about "hate" and who it is directed toward. Score: 8
SIGHTS: Women will be taking mental pictures of a shirtless Gosling. Hell, it's going to be hard for me to forget. Clothes make the man, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. agrees taking Cal from New Balance sneakers (me too!.. oh) to layers of style. The physical comedy comes in two scenes with Tomei attacking and also a backyard brawl. Surprisingly, both work. Score: 8
SOUNDS: Slow motion makes it great, but the club music that signifies coolness, first for Jacob and then for Cal, is good stuff. "Just One Look" and a classic from Dirty Dancing are also well done. The musical score never goes hokey, and thank goodness. It keeps some moods lighter, which adds some nice charm. Score: 8
BEST SCENE: It seemed like the film was running out of steam about half way through. Then Hannah practically attacks Jacob with a kiss and we go on a flawless, instant classic first night romance that is the reason we love romantic comedies.
ENDING: Big and broad. It eeks out enough laughs and charm to where you don't hate the ending. It just feels a little basic (big speech in front of a crowd) compared to other moments in the film.
QUESTIONS: Emily slept with someone, right? Shouldn't we talk about this at some point? Also, how is Robbie the speaker at the end? I don't remember hearing about how smart he was, just that he dropped plenty of profanity in class. One final thing, a 17-year-old taking sexy pictures is incredibly disturbing. I hated that part.
REWATCHABILITY: I can't wait. I have a hunch it will age very well. I could see watching this one at family gathering as well.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. has a terribly ordinary beginning. It actually feels like it's left over material from Date Night and Moore has been digitally inserted for Tina Fey. Then, on the drive home, during a clichéd "it's me, not you" speech, Cal wants out. In fact, we want out. And he does it! He physically jumps out of the car!
This film is the perfect example of taking those romance and break-up moments and putting them in the perfect hands. Specifically Carell, Gosling and Stone are handed "typical" material and make it feel new and insanely addictive to watch. Not everything works. Moore is underutilized. Also, there is plenty to identify with, but having a 13-year-old never give up trying to win the heart of his babysitter wasn't my favorite in tone and performance. With three main storylines, you'll have a personal preference as well. It's like a mini Love Actually. You may not love every story line, but rest assured, with Crazy, Stupid, Love. you can feel confident you're in good, funny, romantic hands.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10