Sappy love story that is poignant, grounded in reality, and sort of hilarious– well, we’ve got your date movie plans satiated with Crazy, Stupid, Love. It’s one of those feel-good love stories you can’t help but smile at while watching. The cast is fantastic, the script is realistic, and the plot overflows with awkwardness when love bites us in the arse.
Starring is Steve Carrell as Cal Weaver whose wife (Julianne Moore of The Kids Are Alright talent) tells him over dinner that she wants a divorce. Five minutes of tortured silence follows as they continue to eat and then drive home. After she tells him that she slept with her coworker, he drops out of the moving vehicle.
So begins the quirky, strange comedy about the pitfalls of love. And yes, there is plenty of love to go around. Cal is in love with his wife Emily, but so is her one-night-stand partner David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). The Weaver’s sensitive, outspoken thirteen year old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is convinced that his soul mate is his awkward, but beautiful beautiful babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Jessica, however, happens to have a crush on Mr. Cal Weaver.
If this sounds so far like a complicated romantic comedy, it doesn’t have nearly as many entanglements as you’ve seen in other love stories (Valentines Day, Love Actually). Once dumped and living alone, Cal seems pathetic. Cue enter Jacob, the suave, smooth-operating ladies man played by the stylish, confidant Ryan Gosling. And well, am I a fan of Ryan Gosling’s lady killer ways? Just read my plan to become him when I grow up: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/i-want-to-grow-up-to-be-ryan-gosling-or-a-pirate/
Seeing how pathetic Cal has become, sitting at a bar, ranting about his ex wife, Jacob decides to teach this older man how to pick up women. And after much face-slapping and an upgrade from Supercuts, he manages to teach Cal the shallow art of seduction. “You’re better than the GAP,” Jacob tells Cal, shaking his head in disappointment. Next could have followed a romping buddy comedy about picking up women, but Crazy, Stupid, Love is more raw than that. It focuses on the strange things that happen to us concerning love.
Like when the thirteen year old boy you babysit shows up at your school with a pulpit to declare his love for you. Like when your kids’ seventeen year old babysitter tries to give you naked pictures of herself. Like when Kevin Bacon learns the loathing of a woman’s kid. Like when Hannah, a law student played by the quirky, fun Emma Stone discovers that her boyfriend does not plan to propose, but instead invites her to become a lawyer with him.
Well, once Jacob meets Hannah, another love story begins.
Ryan Gosling is priceless as vain Jacob, sporting Italian leather boots and suede-accented green suits. His cool, sophisticated ways of seducing movie do not at first impress Hannah, but then after a disastrous almost-proposal, she tracks down “the hot guy that hit on me at the bar.” She kisses him and delclares “we’re definitely going to bang.”
One long night of pillow talk sans “banging” later, they’ve fallen in love. It’s cliche and too quick, but hey, it’s a love story. They needed to squeeze as much love as possible out of it.
The movie is cute, but the movie is also funny. Carell perfectly captures the middle age man estranged from the dating scene: he sits at the bar sipping on cranberry vodkas. “You’re like a fourteen year old girl, ” Jacob chides him. The movie quickly moves beyond the mundane and shallow into my sentimental territory. In that way, the story ends up many romantic comedies do- happily. At very least bittersweet.
Other great performances include Bobo who played Robbie, passionate and lovelorn, and Julianne Moore as a woman in a serious midlife crisis. If you’re looking for a date movie, this one promises a lot of sentimental pull, but also (for guys) great pick up tips. Perfect for couples about to break up: the guy can check out how to either revive his relationship or pull in new ladies by the dozen.
Check out Crazy, Stupid, Love in theatres this weekend.