Sep 30, 2011

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Release Date:  29 September 2011
Rating: (M)
Runtime:  118 mins

There are several defining features that point clearly to Crazy, Stupid, Love being anything but stock-standard. Female we may be, but our loathing for traditional rom-coms runs deep.  First and foremost, the end product benefits immeasurably from its high concept beginnings and a tautly plotted, emotionally complex script from Dan Fogelman, who recently penned Tangled (2011). 

Gosling and Carell have a Godfather: Project Runway edition moment.
In what is undoubtedly his best role since Dan in Real Life, Steve Carell's 40-something Cal Weaver has lost his man-grapes: his kahunas, if you will. His wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), is in the grips of a mid-life crisis and and asks him for a divorce, after cheating on him with a work colleague. The friendship Cal forms with Jacob (Ryan Gosling) as he uncertainly claws his way into the dating world (after exiting it promptly at the age of 15) will make you cringe, laugh, and at times, tear up a little. Gosling plays it camp in showing Cal the ropes, but not to the point of disbelief. Steve Carell extends his repertoire, making Cal as accessible, warm, and real as he is lonely and a tad pathetic. 

Seriously though, what an absolute cracker of a year for Ryan Gosling; early reports on both Drive and The Ides of March are stellar, and his turn as Jacob, womaniser-with-a-heart-of-gold in Crazy, Stupid, Love has with certainty earned him that well-deserved hat trick. It's his Pretty Woman, if you will. His initial attraction to downright goofy (but obviously smokin') Hannah (Emma Stone) really burns up the screen: he can't quite believe it, but she's a set apart from any other girl. 

A walk in the moonlight with the Bacon is all anyone could ask for, right?

The high-calibre ensemble cast, including Kevin Bacon as Emily's maybe love interest, David Lindhagen; Marisa Tomei as primary-school teacher and seductress Kate (it's her high heel you see in the promo poster); Analeigh Tipton as the Weaver kids' babysitter Jess; and Jonah Bobo as Robbie Weaver, the strangest, sweetest 13-year-old boy to light up the silver screen this year. 

Jonah Bobo: off to meet E.T.
Audiences won't bawl like they might'a in Blue Valentine (2010)—another Gosling gem—but there's still enough of that genuine 'well fuck, I've really messed up' feeling to resonate clearly with audiences of all ages. Seeing Crazy, Stupid, Love on a big screen doesn't add all that much visually, but it definitely doesn't hurt seeing a 20-foot-tall version of Ryan Gosling's abs or Steve Carell windmilling.


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