A romantic comedy with a nice, off-kilter take on the whole situation, this movie should please a lot of people as much as it pleased me. It’s not for everyone however – some folks claimed it was misogynistic nonsense while others claimed it had a new overcoat but was still the same old wardrobe. I urge you to give it a chance but I do so with some slight hesitation.
Steve Carell plays Cal Weaver, a man who literally jumps out of a moving car when his wife (Julianne Moore) confesses to infidelity. As far as Cal is aware, he has always been a good husband and father and this sudden change in his life leaves him unable to accept any other role. He spends his evenings in a bar, complaining to all who will listen to him about David Lindhagen aka “the other man” (Kevin Bacon). It’s in this state that Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) notices Cal and decides, for some reason, to give the guy a break. Jacob is a major ladies man, a player, one cool cat, and decides to make it his mission to help Cal reclaim his manhood and get back in the game. As he learns the lines and tricks to being a smooth mover, Cal also realises that he wasn’t quite the fantastic husband he thought he was. And he really regrets it.
Meanwhile, things are complicated by a babysitter (Analeigh Tipton) who is in love with Cal while his son (Jonah Bobo) is in love with her and there is also a girl (Hannah, played by Emma Stone) that Jacob falls for who seems impervious to his charms. And then things begin to get complicated.
Written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (the two men who previously helmed the highly enjoyable I Love You Philip Morris), this movie consists of a decent script elevated by some great performances. Carell doesn’t go for his usual comedy yucks here, it’s a more restrained and centred performance and works perfectly with the material. He even starts to look the part as he’s developed into a ladies man. Ryan Gosling, of course, looks the part and has the attitude to go with it but people may be surprised by the way he lends himself so well to the humour of certain scenes, whether it’s in his berating of Carell’s character or in the way that he finds himself taken aback by the lovely Hannah. Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Emma Stone and Analeigh Tipton are all great although the latter is involved in a few scenes that are mildly discomforting, to say the least, and the storyline involving her being adored by Jonah Bobo’s character is one of the few weak areas in the movie. Marisa Tomei is also onscreen for a portion of the movie and threatens to steal the whole thing with her hilarious performance.
With so many romantic comedies nowadays trying to be a little bit different it’s getting harder and harder to truly recommend one as something “a little bit different” but Crazy, Stupid, Love manages it. It may seem like a movie focusing on a male perspective of a romantic rollercoaster but there’s a makeover sequence, references to Dirty Dancing and a very sweet centre inside all those layers of cynicism and bravado.
DIRECTOR: GLENN FICARRA, JOHN REQUA
STARS: STEVE CARELL, RYAN GOSLING, JULIANNE MOORE, EMMA STONE, ANALEIGH TIPTON, JONAH BOBO, KEVIN BACON, MARISA TOMEI
RUNTIME: 118 MINS APPROX