I’m a fan of romantic comedies in general. Over the last several years, we – the collective twelve-bucks-a-pop-paying audience – have gotten the same thing over, and over, and over again. A predictable boy meets girl flick with the same characters, the same jokes, and the same happy sappy ending. It would appear that an ending powerful enough to give the viewer a tooth ache is necessary for films of this genre, but I don’t believe that is so. Crazy, Stupid, Love breaks out of the norm a bit. It is smart and clever and keeps us following right along until the very end. It has all of the necessary elements of a romcom, but a couple of added extras to sweeten the pot.
Steve Carell plays Cal. Cal is a very familiar character for Carell to play. He played variations of Cal in 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Date Night, and Dan in Real Life. The man who just can’t get life right. Cal is struggling with a failed marriage and what he did to let it go south. After finding out that wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has slept with someone else, Cal starts to do what anyone would do in that situation: sip watered down vodka-cranberries at a ritzy club that always seems to be crowded with gorgeous women. To make matters worse, Emily didn’t just sleep with some guy. She slept with David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Anybody but Lindhagen.
The Lindhagen name becomes well-known throughout the club because Cal slumps on a bar stool nightly singing the my-wife-slept-with-Lindhagen blues. One night, Cal spots another man at the bar alone. Jacob (Ryan Gosling) is dapper, cool, calm, and collected. Everything Cal isn’t, pretty much. He watches as Jacob makes his way around the bar picking up every “fancy face” in the place. I found it remarkable that none of these girls came back in a vengeful way after their night with Jacob. I mean, the club can’t be full of new and different girls every night, can it? It’s the movies, so let’s not focus on the unbelievable bits.
Jacob sits on a couch with another one of his gorgeous gems in an emerald dress when he hears Cal telling anyone who will listen about Lindhagen and decides to help the poor guy out. Jacob is open and honest with Cal and takes it upon himself to help Cal find himself again.
Who doesn’t love a good make-over montage? Am I right? This one begins with Jacob throwing Cal’s beat up old New Balance shoes over a balcony and ends with some hot beats playing as Cal enters the club looking fine!
Meanwhile, Jacob has a romance of his own going on. Hannah (Emma Stone) is a law student. She has a boyfriend and a best friend and appears to have her affairs in order. Jacob hits on her once and she turns him down, but when her boyfriend makes a business proposal instead of a marriage proposal, Hannah flips out a little and winds up in bed with Jacob. This leads up to one of my favorite scenes in the film. Jacob has a seal-the-deal move once he gets girls back to his place – as if just taking off his shirt isn’t enough. I won’t tell you what it is, because it’s too good to spoil. Hannah is a “game changer” for Jacob, but when something seems to good to be true it often is.
Ryan Gosling is incredibly talented. I think he has it in him to play silly/sad/angry/serious/younameit roles and win Oscars all in the same year. He goes into every role so genuinely. Not to mention, he does in fact look like he’s airbrushed. Dude’s in great shape. One of my favorite lines in this film involves Gosling and Stone in bed together and he says to her “Will you do me a favor? Will you do me a kindness?” Something tells me that Gosling is a Winnebago Man fan. Brilliant.
This movie follows the same format of movies like Love Actually and Valentine’s Day. I hesitate to use Valentine’s Day because it was so terrible, but for the sake of the example…
Anyway, the film has multiple stories going on that all tie together in the end. Marisa Tomei plays Kate. She ends up going home with Cal. She has the right cute to sexy ratio according to Cal. She is adorable, crazy, and hilarious. She and Julianne Moore don’t appear to age. Robbie (Jonah Bobo) plays son to Emily and Cal and is in love with babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who is in love with Cal. With all of the love going around it is hard to believe that there is so much chaos in the world of these characters.
Crazy, Stupid, Love has my vote for one of the best films of the year. The more I think about it, the more I think that the writing and performances were just superb. It would be wise, my friends, to keep an eye on Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. They are rumored to be pairing up again in the near future. This is a good thing because the two of them have undeniable on-screen chemistry and a ton of talent. Don’t be surprised if this film is mentioned around Oscar time. It is this year’s bigger, better, prettier, funnier The Kids are All Right. Here’s hoping Gosling gets the Oscar nod that he deserved to get last year.