Now that Boston’s Steve Carell has left The Office, it opens up his schedule for more films. His latest is the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love which also stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon and Julianne Moore.
Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore) are having dinner together. They have been married for a long time and Cal seems happy. What he doesn’t know is that Emily is not. She tells him she had an affair and wants a divorce and on the ride home does what anyone would do in that situation, opens the car door and falls out of the car while it’s moving.
Cal packs up his things and moves into a new apartment. He hits up a local club and sobs to anyone who would listen to him about his wife cheating on him and wanting a divorce. Jacob (Gosling) hears Cal night after night and decides he needs to help him. The good looking womanizing Jacob wants to show Cal what he’s been missing, gets him a new wardrobe, new hair cut and shows him the ropes in how to seduce the opposite sex in today’s world.
As Cal is learning the ins and outs of dating, Jacob slowly finds himself falling for a beautiful red head named Hannah (Stone). Meanwhile Emily starts seeing her co-worker who she had the affair with in the first place (Bacon). Also at home, Cal and Emily’s 13 year old son thinks he is falling in love with his 17 year old babysitter while she is crushing on the much older Cal.
Cal finally becomes a lady’s man and takes one home with him (in a fantastic scene with Marisa Tomei who later on gets even bigger laughs in one of the funniest scenes in the film). As he progresses into the womanizer Jacob is, Jacob starts to realize there is more to life than sleeping with different women every night. Emily realizes what she’s lost and that maybe the grass isn’t always greener. All paths seem to be heading into one direction because of this crazy, stupid thing we call love.
Most romantic comedies are either heavy on the romance or heavy on the comedy. Crazy, Stupid, Love seems to be able to balance both well. It’s quite believable that Julianne Moore and Steve Carell could be an unhappily married couple and the chemistry between Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters play well for the camera. It has love triangles or in some situations more like squares, but it also has some serious laughs. You expect comedy from Carell, but the surprise here is Ryan Gosling. Gosling is known more for his serious characters, but does comedy very well and is more than just a hunk with his shirt off. His delivery of pick up lines (or more like finishing lines) like “Do you want to get out of here?” with his devilish smile seems very natural and acceptable, but in reality he really is sleeping around with a ton of women yet no one cares.
Steve Carell’s Cal have drawn comparisons to his Andy character in The 40 Year Old Virgin, but there really is no reason for it. Cal is a bit inexperienced, but nothing like Andy and Cal’s heart truly belongs to Emily throughout. Julianne Moore again plays a perfect wife/mother and seems right at home with a character like Emily. Kevin Bacon’s character borders on low life and man just interested in a married woman and he pulls it off.
There are some really funny scenes with Jonah Bobo who plays the son and Analeigh Tipton who plays the babysitter and look for some really good stuff from Beth Littleford and John Carroll Lynch as the babysitter’s parents and friends of Cal’s and Emily’s. Marisa Tomei doesn’t seem to “star” in too many films lately, but what she does here is quite good. And also look for a cameo from singer Josh Groban.
About the only under used performer here is Emma Stone. She’s really good in the film and her character ends up playing a pivotal role in the film, but the movie really is about Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. She’s charming and witty, but her talents almost seem wasted. Another lesser known actress could have been used in her place which is a shame because Stone is becoming a go to actress. It’s not her fault and what she does is good, it’s just her character didn’t have much to work with.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a really good adult rom-com. It does have a nice surprising twist that adds another layer to the story that you really don’t want to know until you see it. It’s a great date movie for the over 25 crowd. Those expecting a typical Steve Carell type flick or a typical romantic character from Gosling will be surprised in what they get. It’s quite different for the normal Summer time type popcorn movie.
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