Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Clever dialogue, endearing characters and plenty of wit helps make this ensemble romantic comedy stand out without being too cloying.
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, (who also worked on the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor comedy I Love You Phillip Morris), with a script by Dan Fogelberg, this romantic comedy explores the idea of soul-mates through a series of romances between three different generations.
The film wastes no time kicking off. During a dinner, Emily (Julianne Moore) tells husband Cal (Steve Carrell) that she wants a divorce. Cal is devastated, moves out and goes to bars for solace. Big time player Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes Cal under his wing, helps him dress up and soon Cal is scoring with the ladies.
Of course, since this is an American movie where the family unit is sacred, Cal pines for Emily, but their wrong decisions keep them apart.
Toss in another couple of crushes and romances, between Cal’s son (Jonah Bobo) and their babysitter (Analeigh Tipton), who has a crush on Cal, while Casanova Jacob also has an eye out for Hannah (Emma Stone), and it’s a stewing pot of trouble.
It all builds up to a masterful centrepiece where the plot threads come together in spectacular fashion, particularly after the film starts to lose some of its zing in the middle.
It’s not perfect. Emma Stone is grossly underused, coming across as a plot device. Stone showed her great comic ability in Easy A, and pulls it off again when she has the screen-time, but there’s a bit too little of her.
Main lead Steve Carrell rarely has chemistry with anybody, though he does manage to have sparks fly with his mentor Ryan Gosling. Carrell has a knack for being sincere, and taps onto his time on the TV series The Office to come across as a lovable loser trying to get back onto his feet. Thankfully the directors don’t over-rely on his one-note routine. Moore is once against brilliant and still gorgeous at her age.
The film’s big surprise is Gosling, who shows that he has comic timing underneath those perfect abs and designer clothes. His pickup lines are kinda dubious and you wonder if any woman would really take them up, but Gosling does deliver them with style and shows he’s not just a pretty face.
While relying a little much on coincidences and formulaic turns, Crazy Stupid, Love is still a zippy comedy and probably one of Carrell’s better cinematic effort, with enough truth in it to make it worth a watch.
With a great cast and a crisp script, this comedy is a great exploration of the exasperating, maddening and wonderful nature of love.
Crazy Stupid, Love opens in theatres September 1.