Crazy, Stupid, Love is an intelligent comedy about love so, technically, it’s a Love comedy. It focuses on the failing relationship of Cal and Emily, played by Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, a couple that have been together since they were 15 and became parents at 17. Emily confesses to Cal over a date night in a restaurant that she wants a divorce. Not only that but she’s slept with someone at her work. Cal’s immediate reaction is to get out of their moving car and later move out of their home.
Drowning his sorrows in a trendy bar he sits night after night talking about his failed marriage, mainly to himself, but he also watches a smooth, slick and handsome guy pick up a different woman every time. This is Jacob (Ryan Gosling) a smooth operator with razor sharp dress sense and a masculine confidence that oozes sex appeal. After overhearing Cal talk about his wife’s affair one more time he takes it upon himself to help Cal re-establish who he is as a man.
What works so well with Crazy, Stupid, Love is that it identifies everything that people feel about love and relationships, the worry of having been with your partner for so long and somehow losing who you are as people along the way, first love, unrequited love and unexpected love. Although a lot to cover in one film, Crazy, Stupid, Love does it in such a normal, ordinary way it stands out from more cheesy films like Valentine’s Day.
The casting in this film works with its characters. Everyone knows how funny Steve Carell can be but also how he can deliver the right balance between being funny and understated (watch Dan in Real Life as an example). He has a great every man persona that makes him identifiable as Cal to a lot of men who are probably wearing trainers on their dates, the wrong size clothes and have those velcro wallets. He and Julianne Moore make a perfect fit as a couple that have been together for such a long time that they don’t know what makes them work any more and Moore has a great ability of making you understand her even if her character has an affair.
The film’s mixed stories makes it more accessible for a larger audience and younger viewers will be attracted by its youthful cast members Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Gosling’s character is cocky and charming but also goes on a journey that sounds cliché but doesn’t come off like like one. Stone is on fine form and what makes her so appealing are her kooky ways, comic timing and natural beauty. She is great as a girl who is quite simply nervous about love, relationships and generally not that confident. Something many a girl can again identify with.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a fantastic grown-up love comedy – adult, insightful, light and humorous.
Best performance: Steve Carell as Cal Weaver.
Best scene: The Pretty Woman-esque makeover Jacob does on Cal.
Best line: Jacob – ‘The bags under your eyes look like Hugh Hefner’s ball sack’.
Watch this if you liked: Dan in Real Life, The Kids are Alright