I'm not good with women. For whatever reason, I didn't get that gene that allows me to undress a scorching hot Hollywood actress with a line of dialogue and a Ryan Gosling squint. I'll keep trying, but in the mean time I can live vicariously through Crazy, Stupid, Love., a funny and lighthearted romantic comedy starring Steve Carrell and the Gosling.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is about Cal (Carell), a father who finds his life turned upside down when his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) reveals that she cheated on him and wants a divorce. One night at a bar, he meets Jacob, a suave, lethal-tongued connoisseur of women, who takes Cal under his wing to teach Cal how to get women.
On the surface, Crazy, Stupid, Love. sounds like a guy's movie. But writer Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt, Tangled) and directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris) have developed an intricate, entertaining web of romances, relationships and lusting that manages to find the right balance between edgy and mainstream, bittersweet and heartwarming.
Both Carell and Gosling are excellent in their respective roles. Carell is goofy, awkward and likable, but subdued and believable, a far cry from his role in "The Office." Gosling is Carell's antithesis and plays the part well; he's a little too talented for the movie but manages to make a relatable character out of what would normally be a one-note caricature.
Though the plot revolves around the two men, what makes Crazy, Stupid, Love. intriguing is that the film is essentially an ensemble piece. Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Analeigh Tipton and Jonah Bobo all have their own corresponding storylines, which build upon each other and tie together as the film progresses.
Emma Stone is once again a highlight; she's both disarming and hilarious and is a significant part of the most touching scene in the movie.
The movie does stagger into conventional territory toward the end as the characters seek to resolve various conflicts in a way only Hollywood does, but its flaws are minor.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. features great performances and a funny yet romantic set of stories. It's not quite Love Actually but it's easily one of the best romantic comedies in recent years. In a summer dominated by comic book adaptations and R-rated comedies, it's refreshing to see a comedy like Crazy, Stupid, Love. hit all the right spots.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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