Captures a generational moment - young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have the perfect life together living the American dream... until Emily asks for a divorce. Now Cal, Mr Husband, has to navigate the single scene with a little help from his professional bachelor friend Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Make that a lot of help... Written by
Let me start off my review of this film by saying that I hate Steve Carrell. Watching him on "The Office" for all those years was painful, because his character, and it seemed his acting style was unbelievably stupid and bland. While he has occasionally been a decent funnyman, I hadn't seen him in a role where he was remotely interesting and believable.
Yesterday, I was at the movies, pretty much the whole day, and decided to check out "Crazy Stupid Love", because it had decent critical and audience reactions, better than I expected for a romantic comedy, and it had some of my favorite people in it, including Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. And, to say the least, I was caught by surprise.
One of the reasons for this, is because "Crazy Stupid Love" works as a romantic comedy and a drama. Most romantic comedies, I find, are predictable, stale, and essentially one carbon copy after another, of the same exact story, played out in a slightly altered way. You probably won't guess where "Crazy Stupid Love" is going. While the ending itself is a lot like I predicted it, there's a big plot twist that presents itself in the climax that I really didn't see coming. And that's reason enough to see this movie.
However, there are many (better) reasons. One of the big reasons is that it avoids making any of its characters caricatures. Each character is real, and flawed, screwed up and deals with his or her problems in a very grounded and grown-up way.
It revolves around Cal (Carell), a man who has been married to Emily (Moore) for 25 years, and is rocked by the revelation that she wants a divorce, after sleeping with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon). Cal begins hanging out at a chic pickup bar, where he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a lothario who takes a different woman home every night. He picks up on Cal's depression, and helps him turn into something of a womanizer. Meanwhile, Cal's floppy-haired thirteen-year-old son Robbie has a crush on his older babysitter, who has a little crush of her own. Also, Jacob meets Hannah (Emma Stone), a young lawyer who has heard every pickup line, and therefore, has a quite jaded outlook on love.
And it is the first film or TV show to portray Steve Carrell as a human being. He can act! Who knew? I actually liked him in this role, because I felt that he wasn't Michael Scott, or that guy from "Get Smart", or "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", but an average guy whose life didn't turn out as he had hoped. I bought him in this role. He more than keeps up with the rest of the film's stellar cast.
Another revelation here is Ryan Gosling. I've mostly seen him in depressing dramatic roles ("Blue Valentine", "The Notebook"), while here, he proves himself to be a cunning comedian. He has spectacular comedic timing, and clearly has a lot of fun here with the other actors. He seems to be the superficial funnyman at first, and, like the rest of the cast in this terrific film, opens up, and surprises the audience.
While Julianne Moore is always great, her character and Carrell's character mesh in a way that makes you believe that their marriage lasted 20+ years. Emma Stone is on fire right now, doing a great role in "The Help", she shines just as much here, if not more. Her character is instantly lovable, and I can't wait to see what she does next.
This film also features Marisa Tomei, who gives a fierce, and very funny performance as a recovering alcoholic schoolteacher who dates Cal for awhile after his divorce. Kevin Bacon also made me laugh, as Emily's co- worker, who was her post-divorce rebound. While these two have brief roles, they are very funny and make the most of what they are given.
What makes this film memorable for me, is that it is realistic. It doesn't paint love out to be this magical thing that will automatically make anyone happy. It knows that love doesn't always work out, and occasionally ends in heartbreak and/or violence. And while it's somewhat a cautionary tale, it ends hopefully and overall, kind of happily. It made me cry a little, and it made me laugh a lot. And while it could have been a bit longer, and given its characters some more room to grow, it was a satisfying overall package that I would recommend to someone who's trying to escape the summer of superhero flicks and sequels.
81 of 112 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?