Crazy, Stupid, Love Review
‘Good’ Romantic Comedies are hard to come by. There are a bunch of silly ones out there that treat the material like a joke, make their main characters go through a bunch of awkward and silly series of mishaps, before locking lips with the True Love of their life. The movie ends on an up beat and everyone leaves happily ever after.
These movies are called Rom Coms and no one takes them seriously. If you want to be taken seriously you call yourself a Romantic Comedy. However… Crazy, Stupid, Love insists it is not a Rom Com simply because it doesn’t have Matthew McConaughey without his shirt on falling down or getting stung by a jellyfish or pretending he is a cat.
The Story: Cal (the constantly watery eyed Steve Carrell) and Emily (the constantly watery eyed Julianne Moore) are getting a divorce. Meanwhile, Jacob (a sposda-be suave Ryan Gosling) hits on every woman ever but really kind of likes ones girl, Hannah (the ferocious Emma Stone). Also, Cal’s Son has a crush on the babysitter who has a crush on Cal.
My problem with movies like this is that they get by on being so smart and funny but really just follow the same old stereotypes and formula as other Rom Coms. This movie even has Marissa Tomei doing some REALLY silly stuff. This movie seems to think if its characters constantly walk around with watery teary eyes it is serious and moving but really if they are constantly like that it waters down (pun intended!) the impact when they really need to hold back the tears.
Carrell does a fine job as ‘lovable loser’ and Moore serves her purpose. Stone is great on screen but her screen time is limited. The two big surprises were Gosling, who seems REALLY out of place. He is supposed to be this super suave ladies man but he has more of a boyish charm than total asshole one. He isn’t disgustingly cocky like most men who sleep around with tons of women, he’s adorably misguided. Gee wiz, I wonder if he learns that sleeping with a bunch of women is an empty life and falls head over heels for someone? The second surprise is Kevin Bacon, who plays ‘The Other Guy’ but isn’t a total dick or anything, he’s actually not that bad, just happened to fall for a married woman. Oops!
The movie references The Karate Kid and Dirty Dancing to show its cool. The movie has Gosling take off his shirt so Stone can say “OMG it looks like you’re photoshopped!!! (lol)” (to which Gosling gives the awkwardest look of the movie) so that it can appeal to a younger generation. But the movie has grown up stuff like divorce too. This movie doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be and really nothing about it is quirky enough to set it apart from any other Man-separates-from-wife-fools-around-realizes-wife-was-worth-fighting-for or Man-sleeps-around-only-to-realize-true-love-is-better stories.`When movies like this are as braod as possible to hit as many demographics as possible but involve explosions (e.g. Summer Blockbusters) they are ridiculed, but when this movie does it, well, its charming…
Cal’s son Robbie (John Bobo) is ‘in love’ with the babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who is ‘in love’ with Cal. At no point do you get the sense of how or why. Love is just that word thrown around willy nilly by people. For a movie that deals with love we never see the how or why (except the Gosling/Stone romance which has a nice moment or two ruined by a conversation about Gosling’s Dad who was ‘too soft’ and not a player). Even Cal and Emily just talk about ‘the old days’ without ever really having a good connection.
Also the last section of the movie is so ridiculously stupid its astonishing. Hannah is Cal and Emily’s oldest who they never mention? Cal totally flips his shit when he finds out his only friend who he knows must be a good person at heart is dating his daughter? Cal gets attacked by Jessica’s Dad for something he had nothing to do with? Kevin Bacon?
The movie sets itself up as a serious quirky Romantic Comedy only to throw it all away on a big Rom Com style fight that does one of the things I hate the most, has Cal do a bunch of stupid stuff right at the end of the movie when he should have learned his lesson just so he can make a big speech two scenes later and REALLY learn his lesson.
Speaking of the big speech, not only does Robbie seem to spend every waking minute obsessing over Jessica and performing elaborate ways of shouting his ‘true love’ for her out to the world, but he also spends every waking minute studying really hard because he is valedictorian of his 8th grade class.
In Conclusion: Crazy, Stupid, Love isn’t incompetent as a movie, but its not that good. Its getting all sorts of praise and I don’t understand why. Midnight in Paris came out earlier this year and is way more fun and romantic. Go see that.
Final Grade: C