Crazy, Stupid Love Review

The imperfect combination of equal parts predictable romcom and laugh out loud funny.

That’d be Crazy, Stupid Love then, the latest hollywood comedy to be given the Steve Carell seal of approval.

Cal and Emily Weaver are enduring another mundane dinner that I imagine most married people do when Emily orders something for desert that doesn’t appear on many restaurant menu’s I’ve ever seen.

A divorce.

Seemingly fresh out of this sweet treat, the two drive home instead; Cal in stunned silence, his soon to be ex wife annoyingly not. After divulging that she’s slept with one of her work colleagues, Cal does the only sensible thing and throws himself out of their staid station wagon.

Broken down by over two decades of marriage to the same woman, Cal picks himself up and hits rock bottom very vocally at his nearest bar. Unfortunately for local lothario Jacob Palmer, this also happens to be his pick up joint of choice.

After a couple nights too many spent overhearing the pitiful whining emanating from Cal, Jacob decides to offers his services in helping this charmless man pick up the broken pieces of his life.

And if Cal happens to pick up a few women along the way, even better.

Of course, appearances can be deceiving and Jacob’s seemingly perfect playboy lifestyle may not be everything it’s cracked up to be.

As this odd couple educate each other on their respective lifestyles, both Cal and Jacob get to see how the other half live and learn what it is they really want in their life.

Crazy, Stupid Love is a curious movie. Somewhat predictably, the film sets up its main characters situations and circumstances using tired hollywood conventions.

Clichés of married couples, single men and love triangles are all present and correct as we navigate Cal’s reluctant journey from domestic dirge to a swinging bachelor lifestyle.

Yet for every cinematic formula used in Crazy, Stupid Love, there’s a genuinely funny line or original sentiment lurking just around the corner.

This, I’d suggest, is down to the familiar faces that make up the ensemble cast rather than the writers of this screenplay. Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, as Cal and Jacob respectively, take it in turns to charm both the pretty young things on screen as well as this once young thing in the audience.

Carell does his usual everyman schtick, in pleasantly winning fashion as is his style. But it’s Gosling who sets about stealing your heart.

Coinciding with the release of Drive on the same day, Gosling shows his charisma and versatility and by playing two vastly contrasting characters and is suitably compelling in both.

In fact, whether he’s sharing the screen with Carell or his and Jim Carrey’s love interest Emma Stone, Gosling’s scenes crackle with wit and authenticity.

Sadly, the oft wooden set ups don’t match up to these standards, leaving the viewer feeling a bit bored when Gosling isn’t on screen for long periods of the first half that focus on Cal’s failing marriage with Emily, played by Julianne Moore.

So while this film has its fair share of crazy and stupid moments, it’s not quite love for me.

But if you’re looking for a one night stand, Crazy, Stupid Love is perfect.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

September 2011