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‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ Review

In Movies on August 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm

by:  Eric Buenning

I may be one in a bajillion, but I’m glad Steve Carell left The Office.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a very funny show while he was there, but I always wanted to see if he could expand the depth of his acting.  He broke out slightly in ‘Dan in Real Life’, but now he has really reached that potential with this summer’s new hit romantic dramedy (drama + comedy, just in case you didn’t catch on).  Carell plays Cal, a husband and father who seemingly has it all–the wife, the kids, the house, the good job–until it all comes to a halt when his wife, played by Julianne Moore, confesses that she wants a divorce.  On the car ride home she also tells Cal that she cheated on him with one of her co-workers (randomly cast as Kevin Bacon..not sure why he needed to be in this movie).

Cal, obviously emotionally eviscerated by the whole ordeal, heads to a bar to drown his sorrows away.  Shortly thereafter, in a way only Steve Carell can, he begins to awkwardly express his disdain for what his wife has done to him to just about everybody in the bar.  He catches the attention of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a successful womanizer.  He calls Cal over and he vows to restore his manhood, something he has clearly lost touch of since the end of his marriage.

Meanwhile,  Hannah (Emma Stone) is a soon-to-be lawyer studying for the barr exam.  She is, coincidentally, at the same bar that Cal visits later in the movie when Jacob decides to put the moves on her.  She initially resists, but when her relationship with her lawyer boyfriend (played by Josh Groban..yes that Josh Groban) comes to an unexpected end, she decides now is the time to go back to Jacob and see what develops.

There are many twists and turns from this point on in the story, concluding with a pretty messy yet shocking twist that I can say with absolute certainty nobody in the theater saw coming.  I didn’t even mention the quite hilarious “relationship” between Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and the family’s babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).  That’s a must-see on it’s own. Anyways..

Directors Glen Ficarra and John Requa do a surprisingly amazing job at making their characters all seem so very different, yet connected by similar anguish.  It’s kind of interesting actually to see said anguish taking parts on three different emotional levels (adolescence, “adulthood”, and actual adulthood).  They also do a very fine job on not making the emotion too sappy, which is often a rom-com’s downfall.

Like I stated in the intro, Steve Carell really strikes a chord as the bad luck protagonist.  He uses the brilliant humor and timing that he is capable of in the perfect spots, making it seem very natural and not too scripted.  Props to him.  The supporting cast is also so very brilliant.  Gosling and Stone have a charming chemistry that provides some very humorous and very real moments.  Julianne Moore is once again, great and being: 1. adulterous and 2. teary-eyed (if you don’t know what I mean, check out Far From Heaven (2002)). 

If there was one downfall to this movie, it would be that it was slow to get going.  My advice: just be patient with it, it will make perfect sense if you stick with it.

The thing about rom-com’s is that they try to make life and love seem like some sort of fairytale, glossy experience.  This is where the movie nails it head on.  They’re not those things.  They’re tough; they’re crazy; they’re aggravating and rewarding all at once.  I guess it took the terrific performance of Steve Carell to make me realize that.  I never thought I’d say that in my lifetime.

Rating:  3.5 out of 4 stars

Trailer for the movie below

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