July 30, 2011
Review - " Crazy, Stupid Love " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Crazy, Stupid, Love
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone,
Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Jonah Bobo, Ashleigh Topton, Joey King
Steve plays Cal Weaver. He's been married to his high school
sweetheart, Emily (Julianne Moore), for twenty-five years and they've
hit a rough patch. One day as they're driving home, Emily announces
that she's slept with somebody and Cal jumps out of the moving car,
unable to take it anymore. That's how numb Cal is. He can't feel
anything anymore. Emily asks for a divorce and suddenly Cal is
thrown from married life into the dating scene with no idea what to do
because he hasn't dated in twenty-five years.
Fortunately, Cal hangs out at a bar where hunky player, Jacob Palmer
(Ryan Gosling), woos the ladies and Cal talks to him one day and
suddenly Cal is Jacob's wingman and Jacob is teaching him all about
what's out there for him, how to act, how to dress, and generally how
to be more attractive to women.
Ah, yes, the dating world is so incredibly difficult these days. There's
so much to know. What's fantastic about this movie is how it
distinguishes between the kind of "love" Jacob practices and the kind
of love Cal knows in his heart. It even explores infatuation, which is
what happens with Cal's 13-year-old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who
falls for his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Even as
Cal meets Kate (Marisa Tomei), he finds himself pining for what he
had. The story is further complicated when Jacob meets Hannah
(Emma Stone), who doesn't buy in to all his games.
And what about that Emma Stone? Is she not the breath of fresh air young Hollywood has been waiting for? She's so cute
and interesting - she's like that breath after two mints and a gargle of Listerine. She's fab.
I love how the tables got turned in this movie because at first Jacob teaches Cal everything he knows, but then finds himself
in a situation where he really wants something for the first time - thinks a girl is more than just a casual fling - and suddenly
it's Cal that has something to teach Jacob because it's Cal that has the experience with real relationships, not the superficial
ones Jacob has.
It's the kind of table-turning plot
development that makes me joyful to
know that you can live a pretty
conservative life and still have
something to teach a ladies man. I've
been trying to tell these players that,
but they don't seem to believe me, so
now I'm going to tell them to go see
"Crazy Stupid Love" and then they'll
know and they'll say "Aha! He was
right!" and boy will that be awesome.
The dynamics of the movie are
wonderful. It's particularly gratifying to
watch as Jacob becomes emotionally
unhinged as his game doesn't work on
Hannah and he's forced to confront
the wall he's put up. What we learn is
that Jacob's game-playing is as much
an emotional wall as Cal's wall, which
is mostly built up from time and monotony and a lack of appreciation for what he's got, which doesn't come until after he's
Ryan Gosling's naked abs, which we get to see on a couple different occasions, and which Hannah comments look like they
were photoshopped. This is, of course, a metaphor for Jacob's entire persona, which begins to seem fake once he starts
trying to have a real relationship. But still, seeing Ryan's naked upper half is the next best thing to getting a free lap dance
from a Chippendale.
But perhaps more than the
dynamics being wonderful, is how
unexpected the performances are.
Ryan Gosling is not known for his
comedy, but he's quite funny here.
And Steve Carell isn't exactly
known for his dramatic acting, yet
he's heartfelt and touching in both
his realizations about his failures
and in his relationship with his
children. You just want to reach out
and give Steve a hug and tell him
that he can work through his
"Crazy Stupid Love" is one of those
rare movies that combines great
comedy with incisive, real-life
analysis. It's crazy, stupid good.