9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Romantic Comedy For Actual Adults? A Great Cast And A Smart Screenplay Make The Most Of The Genre
, November 2, 2011
This review is from: Crazy, Stupid, Love (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
In theory and on paper, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" had the potential to be a disaster. It seems sometimes that studios have lost the ability to replicate anything resembling real life in the big budget fiascos that stand for romantic comedy these days. Do people really have to act like complete morons to find true love? How many uptight career women do we need to watch being tamed by adolescent and boorish men? While Dan Fogelman's screenplay certainly plays to the expected conventions, it is distinguished by a smart and genuine sense of humor that is grounded in identifiable and likable character types. It has a surprisingly hard edge which is quite refreshing. Incorporating adult themes, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is a romantic comedy that you don't have to be embarrassed to like for it doesn't pander or insult your intelligence. Yes, it goes a little soft in the final act for my taste--but up to that point, the experience is rich, thoughtful and filled with laughs. And there are some super actors at the top of their game--which certainly doesn't hurt.
The movie begins with the dissolution of a marriage. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, as Cal and Emily Weaver, face the unpleasant truth about Moore's infidelity as she pushes for a separation. The resultant scenes have a bitter truthfulness which plays out in the most awkwardly humorous (and slightly disturbing)way. Much of the movie has Carell reeling and trying to make sense of his life. Ryan Gosling, as the neighborhood lothario, takes the unrepentant sadsack under his wing for some tutelage about making time with the ladies. Yes, it is formulaic in an only-in-the-movies kind of way--but both actors are so engaging, it's quite easy to overlook the convenience of plotting. Gosling, meanwhile, may have met his match with the spirited Emma Stone. These two share real sparks that intensify and deepen as the movie delves further into their bond. Not to be left out, there are several others involved in the romantic merry-go-round including Carell's son who is in love with the babysitter who in turn is in love with Carell. The movie twists around on itself, serving up surprises and sweetness. It all may be a bit gooey by the end, but the performers will keep you on your toes.
Despite being a romantic comedy for grown-ups, perhaps the film's biggest (and most valuable couple) are Carell and Gosling. When these two are together, the picture soars. It is easily one of Carell's best roles and Gosling can do no apparent wrong (is he in every 2011 release?). Stone is quite winning. I also enjoyed brief but pivotal roles by Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon who cross paths with the central married couple. Even with the many subplots and peripheral characters, the film is focused and confidant. What is so amazing is that the picture feels fresh and new despite working squarely in familiar territory. Relatable and more real than it has any right to be, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" makes me yearn for other studio comedies to risk engaging both a viewer's heart and his brain. Give it a shot if you're looking for an adult film filled with big laughs, much heart, and one of the year's most adept ensemble casts. About 4 1/2 stars, I'll round up for the central bromance! KGHarris, 11/11.
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