Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon.
With Steve Carell you know you’re in for some seriously funny lines and situations. The title of the film may be a bit choppy but the plot lines are seamlessly woven together to provide a real look at relationships, male-female dynamics and love at all ages. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (yes, it is apparently punctuated that way) reinvents formula for a relatively fun and interesting take on the rom-com.
Carell plays Cal Weaver, 44 year old husband to his high school sweetheart Emily (Moore) who springs two life-altering confessions on him: that she slept with David Lindhagen (Bacon) and that she wants a divorce. So Cal jumps off the bandwagon (in this case the car his wife is driving) and leaves without a fight. Dejected and bereaved he seeks solace at a bar, telling his woeful tale of betrayal and loss to anyone who would hear it. No one that is, except the Casanova Jacob Palmer (Gosling), who takes an interest in giving Cal a makeover of sorts since he reminds him of his own father.
The other very Love Actually storyline is between Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and his baby sitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who actually has a crush on daddy Cal. Another character called Hannah (Stone) doesn’t get much screen time but she ends up with Jacob and is ultimately a missing piece of the whole puzzle (you’ll understand when you watch it).
Nowadays you’re seeing a lot of films with ‘real relationship problems’ being examined and analysed. It’s not just about boy likes girl, boy tries to get girl and then happily ever after. So it’s refreshing in that sense though there are fair amounts of clichés, which even the characters confess to in the film – In a particularly sentimental and traumatic scene it begins to rain and Cal says, “That’s cliché.”
Ryan Gosling as the debonair playboy with a ‘photo shopped’ body is pretty good. He’s that perfect man: looks good in the suit, gets the ladies but is a bit of sensitive softie on the inside and just wants a woman to understand him. Carell is his usual self and as producer he allows the other actors in the film including the kids to shine. Emma Stone’s character could have had some more spotlight but she’s going places regardless.
The chemistry between Carell and Moore isn’t electric but it is poignant and respectable just as any childhood romance that has weathered the years should be. Sure the finale is a bit farcical and forced (must there always be happy endings with reconciliation all around?) but all-in-all this one isn’t mindless like some of the other drivel we’ve been subjected to this year.