‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ review

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“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is an adult romantic dramedy (drama + comedy) that can be compared to love itself. It starts slowly and awkwardly with a few laughs along the way, then there’s a magic moment of inspiration where everything comes together. From there, everything works together harmoniously and just feels “right”.

Steve Carell (“The Office”) stars as Cal, a man married for 25 years to his high school sweetheart, Emily (Julianne Moore). When Emily declares on one of their date nights that she’s had an affair and wants a divorce, he’s instantly thrust into a mid-life crisis. He moves out of their house and begins to hang out at a local pick-up bar, but instead of hitting on women, he bores them with depressing stories of his wife and family. That’s when he’s tapped by ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who decides to help Cal by upgrading his wardrobe and game so he can take women home on a regular basis like he does. Meanwhile, Jacob faces a crisis of his own because contrary to his playboy reputation, he’s become infatuated with Hannah (Emma Stone) and wants a serious relationship, but has no idea how to do that.

Carell has transitioned nicely into a legitimate film actor and proves with this performance that he can do more than just comedy. Moore isn’t presented with anything challenging, but still does a nice job with her lonely wife character. Emma Stone (“Easy A”) also gives a good performance, and while I never was quite convinced with Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of a womanizer, his talent makes the performance credible enough. Strong supporting performances also are given by Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and the teenage actors.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is that rare film that does a 180-turn midway through the film. Despite some brief moments of hilarity, the first half is a little boring and even worse, depressing. I did appreciate the deliberate buildup of the individual characters and seeing their love interests. I also enjoyed the Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights”) vibe, but the characters didn’t interest me. The story has been told many times, and the plot was similar to “American Beauty,” only not as dark.

But then it all comes together in one magical, wonderful scene. I can’t describe it without giving away key points of the plot, but this one scene completely turned my opinion of the film around. The performances, dialogue and especially the timing of this scene make it a great movie moment, and I found myself smiling all the way to the movie’s end as a result. What at first was a mediocre run-of-the-mill divorce movie all of a sudden turned into a fun and original tale of how crazy and stupid people can be when it comes to love.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love”, 118 minutes, opens on Friday, July 29, and is Rated PG-13.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK68Y3oMEk8

7 comments
nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

resurrects itself from 'american beauty' bleakness? going to see this one.

annedreshfield
annedreshfield

I can't wait to see this film -- I've pretty much only heard good things about it. Also, you pretty much ensured that I'd end up going, if only because you left us dangling with that fantastic scene. It's going to be fun to go and see the movie and wait for it to appear!

WillL
WillL

Nice review dude. I liked how the movie was layered with different plot and character twists. I thought Ryan Gosling was a believable modern day gigolo and of course Steve Carrell just has that sad but happy conflicted look, kind of like he was in Little Miss Sunshine. I'm glad you liked it because I did too.

MyongChoi
MyongChoi

@annedreshfield Hey, you're in the Bay Area! I miss that place! Lived there for nearly 5 years...I hope you enjoy the film when you see it!

MyongChoi
MyongChoi

@WillL thanks WillL. Yeah, the more I think back on the film the more I appreciate it and its depth. I would definitely recommend this film.

annedreshfield
annedreshfield

@MyongChoi Nice! I was born in Walnut Creek and lived in Alamo for about 7 years. It's a fantastic place to be, that's for sure. :)