Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Crazy, Stupid, Love features a strong and talented cast, some laughs and a few different romances, of which, some work, but others feel awkward and unexplored. The ending overreaches itself, but by then the movie has garnered such a feeling of good will that I was able to forgive it.
The story opens with Emily (Moore) telling her husband Cal (Carell) that she had an affair and wants a divorce. Depressed, Cal moves out and starts going to a bar nightly to drown his sorrows. There he meets Jacob (Gosling), a ladies man who takes Cal under his wing to snap him out of his funk and get his pride back by teaching him to care for his appearance and how to pick up women. Despite his new found success with the ladies, it's obvious Cal is still in love with Emily.
Jacob is definitely a playa, but as played by the talented Gosling, he has charisma and a sleazy kind of charm. Gosling is able to convey that there are some layers to this seemingly shallow person. His womanizing days come to end when he meets Hannah, played with charm by current It girl, Emma Stone. He shares a night of real intimacy with her and suddenly finds that he needs advice from Cal in return about how to have a real relationship.
Cal and Emily and Jacob and Hannah are the two main relationships in the movie and when it focuses on them the movie really works. I cared about their relationships. Cal and Emily come across as genuine. They share a particularly sweet moment when Emily calls Cal with the excuse that she needs to know how to light the pilot light, but what she doesn't know is that Cal can see her through the window and knows that the pilot light was just an excuse for her to call. Jacob and Hannah share a good chemistry and a sweet first night together. You want to see their relationship succeed as well.
On top of those two relationships though the movie throws in a few that seem out of place, under explored and in one case, inappropriate. Cal and Emily's 13 year old son Robbie, has a crush on his 17 year old babysitter Jessica. She walks in on him masturbating, for which he apologizes, but he also tells her that he thinks of her while he's doing it. Jessica (unsuprisingly) isn't interested because she in turn has a crush on Cal. She implies that it's because he's a great father, but we're never really shown any great parenting skills. While he occasionally plays catch with son, his son seems to give him advice more than the other way around and his daughter is basically a non-entity. Not only does Jessica's crush feel inappropriate, it's never fully explained. Maybe if we'd been shown that Jessica's own father was absent or abusive or something, I might have bought her looking for a father figure, but no justification is ever given and so instead her storyline seems more like a male fantasy by writer Dan Fogelman.
Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei are underused in supporting roles. Bacon is the co-worker whom Emily slept with, but is basically a man in a suit for all the personality that he's given. That's through no fault of Bacon, simply the way the part is written. Tomei brings some comic life to her small scenes, one of which is featured heavily in the trailer.
When focusing on the two main relationships and the relationship between Cal and Jacob, this movie works. The script is funny and the actors all talented and likable. With a tighter editing job to remove some of the superfluous storylines it could have been even better than it is.
Ryan Gosling proves he's more than just a pretty face in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is funny, sweet and poignant. As Scott said it is at its best when focusing on the four main characters and slips a bit when dealing with the son and babysitter. Cal’s speech at his son’s middle-school graduation ceremony at the end rings false. It is a big happy Hollywood moment that seems out of place and makes you suddenly remember you are watching a movie.
The chemistry between the four leads is good but this movie really belongs to the men. Cal and Jacob are the focus of the story and their scenes of male bonding are some of the funniest. Cal needs Jacob to begin to heal from his forced separation from his wife just as, later on, Jacob turns to Cal for relationship advice. Carell and Gosling play off of each other well. These two are the heart of the movie and not surprisingly the most fully developed characters.
I agree that Cal and Emily seem like a real couple. Carell and Moore are both hugely talented actors. Carell handles the dramatic moments nearly as well as the lighter ones and Moore can say so much with just a look or a well-timed sigh.
Gosling and Stone, as Jacob and Hannah, have one great scene together. She spends the night at his house but instead of having wild sex they talk the night away. Jacob finds himself getting to know a woman on a deeper level than he ever has before. It is not only funny and touching but it changes the course of the story as well.
All of the storylines culminate in one hilarious scene in Emily’s backyard. It combines situational humor with slapstick and is easily one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen in any movie in a very long time.
Unfortunately the writers segue to the middle-school graduation ceremony where the movie ends as feel-good Hollywood mush. The ending doesn’t completely ruin the movie but it certainly doesn’t help it either. I agree with Scott that Crazy, Stupid, Love, while still an entertaining and often hilarious movie, could have been so much better.
Bacon, Gosling and Carell
Watching Crazy, Stupid, Love is like having someone tell you a really long joke. Half way through, you just know that the punchline, no matter how good, will not be worth the wait. Other than Marisa Tomei's three funny scenes, the entire movie is merely a set up for all the major players to converge in the backyard for the films pay off. Yes, it is a funny scene but like a long joke, it was not worth the time it took to get there.
Tomei is the funniest character in the film while Julianne Moore proves again to be a great actress. She plays Emily for laughs although she remains a realistic portrayal. She is one of those actresses that can say as much with her expressions and mannerisms as she can with dialogue.
The men do not fare as well. Carell seems annoyingly over-the-top spouting on about his wife's affair to everyone in a bar. It is not funny or endearing. Why Gosling decides to take him on makes little to no sense. Likewise, Gosling's Jacob is a mess of contradictions. He gets women to go home with him all the time, yet once there he still has to seduce them? This is not a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie. What do the women who go home with him think he has in mind? Also, a mysoginist like him would rely on alcohol and a girl's poor judgement to get them into bed, not Dirty Dancing.
For a comedy the jokes are just not there. I can count the times I laughed during this movie on one hand. As my brothers wrote, another problem is the editing. There are too many story lines going on for too long. There are also too many character who do nothing. Do we really need to see Groban act like a tool? Bacon is a star but David did not have to be seen, just referred to.
The worst offense though is the ending. Never, ever should a film end without stating clearly what becomes of the leads. This is especially important of romantic comedies. Dan Fogelman has been known for childrens movies like Cars, Bolt and Tangled. Perhaps he should have stuck to them.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures (2011)