Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love Review

It's kind of the summer of the literal movie title. You have Cowboys and Aliens, which is about cowboys and aliens. Now you have Crazy, Stupid, Love which is about how love can be crazy and make people look stupid. In fact both movies share the mash-up thing. One combines science fiction and westerns whereas Crazy, Stupid, Love combines two closer types of movies, the independent film and the screwball comedy.

Crazy, Stupid, Love starts out with Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) having dinner with his wife Emily. (Julianne Moore) Out of nowhere she announces to Cal that she wants a divorce because she's been having an affair with David Lindhagen. (Kevin Bacon) Unfortunately when they get home, news of the divorce is disclosed to Robbie (Jonah Bobo), Cal's eighth grade son and the babysitter, teenager Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton) who is in love with Cal. However, Robbie is in love with the babysitter.

As the divorce is going through, Cal starts hanging out at a pickup bar. At this meat market, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a womanizing stud, is quite successful in getting the women. Jacob uses old school pickup lines and nice clothes to bag his prey. But he fails with a bright law student, Hannah. (Emma Stone) Meanwhile Cal tells anyone in earshot his problems and looks pretty pathetic. Jacob hears this stuff, and feels sorry for him. He takes Cal under his wing. He decides to help Cal become a single man again. Cal finally scores with a lonely teacher, Kate. (Marisa Tomei) But he still longs for Emily.

Steve Carell is excellent as the depressed but still in love, Cal. Julianne Moore is also top notch as the conflicted Emily. Ryan Gosling continues to give great performances. This time he's a shallow Casanova who's looking for that someone until he meets the spunky Emma Stone.

In many comedies, you can name the big gags. Take for example, Bridesmaids, who can forgot the wedding dress scene? The humor in Dan Fogelman's script is more observational. It's a an essay on love. Starting with the emotion at the youngest level with Robbie, then to high schooler Jessica, young adults, Hannah and Jacob, and finally to Cal and Emily. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa give the film a kind of indie feel complete with the soft rock touches. It's just the dual climaxes that turn the movie into your usual Hollywood fare. The finale feels contrived but can't erase the warmth surrounding the characters.

Adult films are in the minority during the summer. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a witty take on love. The grade is B+.

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