- Reviews Written:
Posted on 1/26/13 03:27 PM
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a mature, thoughtful, and somewhat realistic comedy 2/3 of the time. The movie is all about love, but it splits into three romantic sub-plots. Two of these sub-plots are very well handled, funny, and relatable. One is preposterous, creepy, and unfunny. It's a shame, because 2/3 of this movie is so good, but that other 1/3 takes some of the wind out of the sails.
Sub-plot number one: Cal Weaver has been married to Emily for 25 years. Their relationship isn't a bad one. It's not that they fight or disagree much. No, their relationship is just lifeless at the moment. They've both grown complacent as a couple, and Emily starts a relationship with a co-worker. She abruptly breaks the news to Cal that she wants a divorce. Cal isn't heartbroken, yet. He's confused and hurt. He starts going to a high-end bar night after night, spending his time drinking and talking to himself. Out of pity, ladies-man Jacob befriends him. Cal hasn't dated in over 25 years, so Jacob makes it his duty to get Cal back into the "dating world". While Cal had a meaningful relationship for decades, Jacob has never had a meaningful relationship. Which leads to romantic sub-plot number two.
Sub-plot number two: Jacob sees law student Hannah in the bar one night and offers to buy her a drink. Hannah turns him down because she is in an extremely steady relationship with her lawyer boyfriend Richard. Weeks later, Hannah is ready to commit to the relationship but Richard says he needs, 'time to consider their future.' Hannah is furious; she leaves Richard and takes up with Jacob. And then for the first time in his life, Jacob falls in love. Now it's Cal's turn the help Jacob. With Cal's help, Jacob starts his first meaningful relationship.
Sub-plot number three: Cal's son Robbie strongly believes in soul-mates. And at 13 years old, Robbie thinks he has found his. She is Jessica, a girl who babysits Robbie and his younger sister. She is 18, and preparing to go to college. Robbie makes his feelings known to Jessica. She is appropriately creeped-out, but Robbie still won't stop harassing her.
The first two plot lines are done so well. They're funny while still being emotionally moving and logical. What happens between Cal and Emily seems real and relatable. What happens between Jacob and Hannah is well within the realm of possibility. But what happens between Robbie and Jessica is just ridicules. Jessica clearly isn't Robbie's soul-mate. None of the interaction between Jessica and Robbie is pleasant; until the very end of the movie (which is also really stupid). There's no way Robbie actually loves Jessica, he has a crush on her, but he doesn't love her. Because of this, the entire sub-plot is pointless. They should have given that screen time to the Jacob and Hannah relationship.
Headlining the movie is Steve Carell as Cal. And wow, what a performance. I don't think Carell has ever played a more serious character. Don't get me wrong, Cal is an incredibly funny guy, but he still acts like a normal person. Carell carries both the funny and the dramatic parts of the movie.
Ryan Gosling gets to have fun as Jacob. He shows off his comedic side to perfection. Jacob is such a smooth operator, and Gosling is able to pull that off without it seeming forced. He just has a naturally irresistible personality.
Julianne Moore plays Emily. The character suits Moore perfectly. Emily is probably the most serious character in the movie. But it's still good to see Moore doing a comedy. In limited screen time, she has great chemistry with Carell.
Emma Stone once again embodies her character. One of my problems with the movie is the lack of screen time Stone gets. More screen time is given to the ridicules Robbie and Jessica plot. The relationship between Hannah and Jacob is infinitely more interesting, but it doesn't get the screen time it deserves. The chemistry between Stone and Gosling is very strong, and they seem very natural together. Every time I see Emma Stone onscreen, I like her even more.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa craft a comedy where the characters act like normal people. Most comedies exist in an alternate reality where characters are always ready with a witty pun, and always able to act unrealistically in the face of adversity. This movie is not like that. The best example of this is the conversation between Cal and Jacob near the end of the movie. (spoiler) When Jacob asks for Cal's approval on his relationship with Hannah, I was just waiting for Gosling to whip out some defiant, cliché one-liner, but to my surprise, he doesn't. He accepts Cal's explanation and even agrees with him. That scene is a great example of what makes this movie so much better than your average comedy.
All in all, this movie does a great job giving us relatable characters and situations. It is far better than most comedies, because it knows when to take itself seriously. Also, throw in a randomly hilarious name, David Lindhagen, and you have yourself a great movie. I just wish it didn't ditch this great attitude when dealing with the Robbie plot line.
"A mother and daughter. That's very Wilt Chamberlain-esque, even for you." 7.5/10