Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)


Director(s): Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon

I am fully aware than in my previous post, I gave chick flicks quite a bashing. It may have appeared that my overall opinion of them is that they are dull and predictable mulch. This is both true and untrue. Whereas there are an enormous amount of below average chick flicks that act as a powerful emetic, there are some that rise above expectations, such as this.

The plot:
Cal (Carell) has just been divorced by his wife Emily (Moore). Drowning his sorrows in a local bar, he comes to the attention of Jacob (Gosling), a local womanizer. Jacob offers to take Cal under his wing, to help him get over his marriage and get back on track with his life. However, while Cal is becoming the effective ladies man, Jacob begins to fall for a girl named Hannah (Stone), which could bring his bachelor lifestyle to a screeching halt.

When dealing with films that focus on the subject of love, it is so important that the cast members have chemistry, otherwise the entire affair feels forced and pointless. It is incredibly unsettling to see two people, who clearly would never have anything to do with each other in real life, suddenly embrace each other. This important fact is taken on board by the directors, who ensure chemistry is present or, if not, certainly give the illusion of it with clever direction.

Cal and Emily are a fantastically written couple, it is immediately apparent from the very beginning that the spark of passion has left their lives. This is presented through a theme of shoes and feet. Bizarre, but not in a creepy Tarantino way. The film opens in a restaurant, where we see a number of couples touching each other lightly but affectionately under the table. Cut to our main couple, whose feet remain stoically by their own chairs.

In less capable hands, this would undoubtedly steer towards a happy ending for the couple, with them rediscovering their feelings for each other, and with passion all aflame. Without revealing anything, the film steers towards this ending, but takes an unfamiliar track. It can be seen, clearly, that this is a couple who have been married for many years. Their love isn’t the sappy, just-met-and-completely-in-love romance of so many rom coms. It is the deeply engrained, so integral to their being that it is barely acknowledged love of a married couple.

Saying that, this film does not knock the newly discovered love of youth. Gosling and Stone, both on top form, are given less screen time together, amounting in just over twenty minutes. To develop their relationship in such a short space of time is quite a feat, but expertly accomplished.   They share one particularly pivotal scene, a montage sequence at about the halfway point of the film. So well crafted is this sequence, laden with just the right about of humour and sensual camera work, that it is possibly the most emotionally stirring point in the whole film, making it utterly impossible to not care for them.

The film does appear to be trying to do too much initially. There seem to be a lot of sub plots and strands lying about. And while it is tied up nicely in the film’s conclusion, it still feels slightly messy. One sub plot in particular features the relationship between Cal’s thirteen year old son and his babysitter. Whereas their characters are likeable, and provide a good deal of the humour of the film, it does come off as somewhat forced and at times even a bit unsettling.

Overall:
This is but a small grievance, as Crazy, Stupid Love is a very enjoyable experience. It has more than enough laughs to keep guys interested, steering more towards com than rom. However, it still manages to throw some powerful emotional punches, presenting the concept of love in a new, but still quite heartwarming, perspective.

Awful Rating: 8/10

When I told you when I had to work late? I really went to go see the new Twilight movie by myself, and it was so bad…I don’t know why I did that!” – Emily

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • My original plan was to ask for a ticket to see “Crazy, Stupid Love”.
    What came out was “One ticket for Stupid Sexy Love”.
    The Simpsons have destroyed my ability to watch romantic comedies.
  • This marked the first time I returned to Dun Laoghaire cinema in quite a few months, where, anyone who knows me from college, will know I spent a great deal of time. I’m not ashamed to admit I hugged the popcorn machine. Steve Walsh understands that kinda love
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Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

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