REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

2 Aug

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

I pulled the double feature on Sunday, thanks to the rain, and I’m glad I did, because Crazy, Stupid, Love provided a nice reprieve after my screening of Cowboys & Aliens.

Crazy, Stupid, Love revolves around Cal (Steve Carell), who is struggling on his own after his wife (Julianne Moore) tells him she wants a divorce. He tries to get back in the dating scene by going to the local bars and clubs, but is far removed from what is “cool” and what women are looking for. A young womanizer named Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes pity on him and teaches him how to be attractive to women, but Cal still finds himself longing to reunite with his wife.

This summer comedy started out seeming like a watered down take on The 40 Year Old Virgin, except this time it was The Man Who Only Had One Woman and is Now Too Old to Know How to Pick Up Women. It featured Steve Carell acting like a bumbling idiot at bars while his friends tried to give him pointers to no avail. While I like Steve Carell and The 40 Year Old Virgin, I really had no desire to see a remake of that. Thankfully, it quickly changed tone to something deeper and more heartfelt.

Steve Carell anchored the film, but he certainly was strongly supported by Ryan Gosling who was appearing in his first straight up comedy role. Gosling nailed his part, portraying the playboy and I was wondering how they could make a believable character arc for someone that shallow and one-dimensional at the beginning of the film. To me, one of the best scenes in the film was watching the first night he spends with Emma Stone’s character, and watching him be enamoured by her. It was a touching look at the first inklings of love, and they did a superb job of making their romance convincing.

Not only did the adults in the film deliver great performances, but two of the younger actors involved, Jonah Bobo and Analeigh Tipton, showed that they have a promising future as well. Their characters’ “romance” is actually somewhat disturbing, but they certainly played their parts earnestly and complemented the older characters well.

The writer, Dan Fogelman, whose credits before this were limited to lighter fare, brought a delightful mix of comedy and depth, something that I wasn’t expecting in a summer comedy. Directors Glen Ficarra and John Requa, who gave us last year’s I Love You, Phillip Morris, did a great job of using that mixture to their advantage. While some other films might try to hard to force both comedy and drama together in an awkward and spotty way, Ficarra and Requa sewed them seamlessly together.

 I think that this is one of the most well-rounded comedies that I’ve seen in a while. It is no Best Picture winner, but I think there is a good chance that it could make my Top Ten List at the end of the year, not that the competition has been that fierce so far. I highly recommend this film if you’re looking for an alternative to the typical summer fare. It goes down smooth, but takes some time to digest.

OVERALL: A-

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