Crazy, Stupid, Love. * * * 1/2

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Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa.
Screenplay: Dan Fogelman.
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Joey King, Liza Lapira, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Littleford, Josh Groban.

When the black-comedy “Bad Santa” was released in 2003, it brought some attention to it’s writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. They went on to make their co-directing debut in 2009 with “I Love You Phillip Morris” and showed that they are as good at direction as they are with words. This one, marks their second directing collaboration together and a different change of style.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is a seemingly happy husband until one evening during dinner, Sally (Julianne Moore), his wife of 25 years, tells him she wants a divorce. Suddenly finding himself on his own and struggling, Cal meets lounge lizard Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a young man who decides to take him under his wing and teach him the ways of being single, and how to seduce any woman he wants.

This may be slightly new territory for the directing duo of Ficarra and Requa but as they have proven in the past with “Bad News Bears” they are able to tone down their lewd humour for a more accessible audience. As a result they lose some of the risqué humour that makes their writing so appealing but another new thing is, they didn’t write this film. However, the directors still know how to deliver the laughs, even if they are toned down. Put simply, this is a romantic comedy and I’m not a fan of the genre. However, this aims a little higher than usual for the formula and hits the mark on more than a few occasions. That’s thank in large to it not being your standard boy-meets-girl scenario. Of course, it has elements of this but it’s structured in such a teasingly elaborate way that it keeps it fresh and maintains your interest. It also has a good understanding of the pathos involved with relationships, giving the actors some dramatic material to counteract the comedy. It’s finely tuned with good characterisation and handled well by endearing performances from an impressively assembled cast. With the exception of an underused Kevin Bacon, everyone else gets their fare share of screen time. Gosling shows some good comedic talents despite being better known in dramatic roles and Carell can do the tragic everyman in his sleep. The real comedy highlight though, is a scorned and neurotic Marisa Tomei. She delivers regular laughs whenever on-screen. Overall it’s a collective piece of work though and a real surprise that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Be warned though, the first half-hour is standard rom-com territory but if persevered with, it picks up after that.

It lacks the provocative and outrageous humour “I Love You Phillip Morris” benefited from but still has plenty of genuinely funny scenes. One of the better romantic-comedies.

Mark Walker

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14 Responses to “Crazy, Stupid, Love. * * * 1/2”

  1. I was a little bit disappointed with it. I thought the idea sounded promising and I loved I love you Philip Morris, but this turned out to be a bit more of a standard rom com, playing it very safe. Again: there probably are a lot worse out there, 3/5 in my book. And Gosling was lovely as always!

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    • Yeah, as I mention, Rom-com’s just aren’t my bag. I normally have a strong dislike for them but I enjoyed the different strands to this, as well as, the dramatic side. 3 stars was my initial rating but I bumped it up slightly because it done things a little differently.

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  2. MrMcBam Says:

    The twist for this film completely took me by surprise.

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  3. I wanted to see this film after really enjoying Emma Stone in Easy A. I liked this film for most of the reasons you mentioned. I was interested to see Ryan Gosling tackle a comedic role and he was surprisingly good.

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    • I agree. I thought Gosling was great as usual. He’s an actor that can do no wrong these days. I’m not Carell’s biggest fan but this was one of very few roles that I’ve enjoyed of his. “Little Miss Sunshine” being another.

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  4. A very fun film. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the cast was amazing. This was actually my favorite Gosling performance of 2011.

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    • Yeah, Gosling’s on a good role these days. It’s great to see him tackle something different as well. I was surprised that I quite enjoyed this. It’s not normally for me.

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  5. I really liked this movie. If you look back at my Top Ten of 2011 list, I have added it as one of my Honorable Mentions. It wasn’t a typical rom-com, and I found it to be quite funny. I give it four stars. Here’s my review if you want to take a look:
    http://www.themoviefreakblog.com/review-crazy-stupid-love

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    • Yeah, It was actually quite good. I nearly gave up on it at the beginning. I didn’t like where it seemed to heading but it went in a different direction altogether. It was a pleasant little film.

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  6. “One of the better romantic-comedies.” My thoughts exactly

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  7. I’m not as enamored w/ Gosling as the rest of womankind, but I do like Steve Carrell and yes I agree he can do the ‘tragic everyman’ in his sleep. I might give this a rent one of these days, as I also like Marisa Tomei and she’s generally good even in a small role.

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    • Gosling is one of those actors like Brad Pitt that is in danger of his looks overshadowing his talents. I actually admire his range but thank you for your honesty Ruth. You’re probably the first woman I’ve ever heard say that 😉 As for Tomei though, she’s the real highlight in this.

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