Crazy, Stupid, Love
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Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling lead an all-star cast in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Fortysomething straight-laced Cal Weaver (Carell) is living the dream—good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart, Emily (Julianne Moore). So when Cal learns that his wife has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his “perfect” life quickly unravels. Cal, who hasn't dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth so handsome player Jacob Palmer (Gosling) takes him on as wingman and protégé, opening Cal’s eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style. Despite Cal's makeover and his many new conquests, the one thing that can’t be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading Cal back to where he began. Brimming with inspired performances, critics are calling this gem of a romantic comedy “a movie that understands love” (Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly).
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy with a big heart--a refreshing change from its Hangover-laden compatriots, and almost a throwback to a golden era of romance. For Crazy, Stupid, Love relies on the sharp writing by Dan Fogelman (animated hits like Bolt, Tangled) and the sparkly chemistry of its cast, led by Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and the emerging superstar Emma Stone. It's not that the plot is ground-breaking--maybe, in fact, the appeal of Crazy, Stupid, Love is that it's all too relatable. Cal (Carell) is long married to Emily (Moore), until one day she drops divorce on him, out of the blue. Stunned, Cal tries to reassemble his life as a woefully unprepared single guy. Enter Jacob (Gosling, who's never been better) as a happy bachelor whose tips for Cal will be ones that even the most happily wed female viewers will secretly want their mates to hear. Marisa Tomei has a hilarious turn as a temptress who's way out of Cal's league. And Stone is the fresh-faced, fearless young woman who shakes the confident Jacob's supposedly solid world view.
But it's the interplay between the characters, the true humanness of their emotions--long missing from many contemporary "romantic comedies"--that set Crazy, Stupid, Love in a class of its own. Moore is more than just the weary, accusatory neglected wife--someone who's never stopped believing in the spark of love. Gosling could easily be his generation's Cary Grant--assured, quick-witted, sly, yet vulnerable. Carell once again shows his dramatic capabilities on top of his impeccable comic timing. And Stone is a revelation, lovely, delicate, vulnerable but strong. Crazy, Stupid, Love will reaffirm the viewer's belief in all that's possible. Call us crazy. --A.T. Hurley
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And another aspect of this story that I appreciate is the fact that is was completely entertaining, without the need for raunchy, bawdy dialog or suggestions. Good stories don't need that garbage.
While this has all of that, there was much less of the squirming moments --- there were a lot of moments that could have been but the plot set up for them so well, you could understand why they went there and was not awkward or forced so you asked "why are they doing this? Is it just for lame laughs?"--- and a mercifully shorter downturn at the end than other comedies. The plot managed to surprise me at times and made me laugh a lot more at the just plain funny moments than I had in a long time with a movie.
While I could understand Julianne's character being conflicted and facing a mid-life crisis, at the same time, she was hard to like since wishy-washy is just plain hard to sympathise with no matter how justified. The romance of the film was largely Steve and Ryan's characters' bro-mance and helped carry a story where romantic love has been shown to be an uncertain thing. The story portrays no unrealistic promises, just leaves you with hope.
The X-ray trivia mentions that the film was almost named First Date; Crazy Stupid Love is really the perfect title.