Friday, August 26, 2011

Cinema - Crazy, Stupid, Love.


There were four trailers played before I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. The first was one for an upcoming Anna Faris comedy called What's Your Number? which looks devastatingly obvious. I'd be surprised if Faris' character doesn't end up getting with Chris Evans' character, even if she has to look back through all of her ex's to realise that he is the one. After that came Friends with Benefits, which of course has already been released in the US to mediocre reviews...but we all saw this movie in No Strings Attached, right? The next one, Abduction, was just a random one to show us that no matter how hard he tries, Taylor Lautner will always be a brooding teenager. Then came along New Year's Eve, which is along the same lines as Valentine's Day - meaning that not only does it have the same director, it will also have the same ill-attempted twists and eventual cliches in every story. You see, what the rom-com genre has become is a web of cliches and predictability, because there are only so many ways that a love story can go.


However, with Crazy, Stupid, Love, the movie doesn't try to do five hundred things at once, ending up in a big hot mess of stereotypical soup. Nor does it just focus on two people going through something as hard as love. Instead, the film has a few stories, which are given the right amount of attention, and have a few twists here and there which can't be seen from a mile away. It all starts with Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a lovable schlub who has been married to Emily (Julianne Moore) for 25 years - but she has decided that she wants a divorce because she slept with colleague David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Cal, now all alone and on the verge of depression, spends his nights at a bar telling everyone the story of how his wife cheated on him. Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), an impeccably dressed ladies-man, notices Cal and decides to teach him how to 'embrace his manhood'. Now we have Cal Weaver, on the brink of divorce, dressing like he actually should, becoming a bit of a ladies man himself. Just as Cal becomes a master of winning women, Jacob meets the lovely Hannah (Emma Stone), who he actually falls in love with - as opposed to just taking her home for one night. And then there's also the story of Cal and Emily's 13 year old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who happens to be in love with his 17 year old babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton)...and he's never giving up on trying to win her over.


The best thing that Crazy, Stupid, Love has going for it is the fact that the several stories within the film are finely balanced and they each run a lot closer together than it would appear. Along with that, the film manages to recycle ideas, but make them look as good as new. Not only do they look new, they also become painfully real. Crazy, Stupid, Love knows that it is about finding love and being in a relationship...all that kind of stuff. But it doesn't spend time trying to make any single people jealous by watching people be cute together. Instead, it just draws you into what it's like to find love/fall out of love/be in a relationship. Which is cool, because in each story there is a phase of a person's romantic life: first crush/unrequited love, bad break-up, finding 'the one'. The way each of these phases intertwine and cross paths which each other is something which I thought was pretty cool. Needless to say, in a world where 90% of romantic comedies suck, this one doesn't.


Half of Crazy, Stupid, Love's success can be attributed to it's enormously talented cast. There's Steve Carell, in Date Night mode...except swapping the stupidity for a little bit of sadness. Ryan Gosling, the man of the moment, shows that he can do comedy. The only problem I had with him in this film was the fact that I kept comparing him to how he was in Blue Valentine. That's not a good idea. Julianne Moore is as good as she always is, being as radiant as ever. Emma Stone is a little cutie pie, again showing off the natural humour and charm that she put to good use in Easy A, just in reduced amounts. Marisa Tomei is a standout, playing the crazy five-years-sober teacher. She has some very fine moments, given the amount of opportunity she has to make people laugh. Young Jonah Bobo does a pretty convincing job as a lovelorn boy who is both misunderstood and misinformed. As for Kevin Bacon...well, everyone seems to hate Kevin Bacon these days.


If there is something that I didn't like about Crazy, Stupid, Love, it would have to be that the film's tone was pretty uneven. Other than that, I found this movie pretty darn enjoyable...it would be the perfect date movie, if I had a date. I was in absolute hysterics at one point (if you've seen the film, you probably know which scene I'm talking about). Hey, romantic comedies don't have to be all bad. What's Your Number?, Friends with Benefits, New Year's Eve and...uh, Abduction: I know it's too late, but take note for next time.

THE VERDICT: Crazy, Stupid, Love is a perfectly sweet and funny romantic comedy that doesn't let predictability stop it from achieving almost greatness - and the cast is pretty cool, too.

What I hoped for:








What I got:

5 comments:

  1. Might actually be a film I have to give a go with the high-praise that you have given it (though I thought your expectations rating would be much higher.)

    I have never been a big Steve Carell (only in Little Miss Sunshine have I actually liked him), but I can't deny that I did have a smirk on my face when Gosling was in the trailer.

    Man, this film came out to you way before it came out here!

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  2. This sounds interesting. Might take Ashley to see it; it's so rare when there's an actually decent romantic comedy on that couples who actually have taste in movies can go to and enjoy. I'll take your word for it on this one, Stevee.

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  3. Good Review! Overall, the film is too conventional for my liking. It needed to be sharper, wittier, and funnier. But for average summer fare, it’s okay. It’s far from perfect and runs on the long side, but rom-com and chick flick lovers will likely be satisfied.

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  4. Cherokee - I'm not a big Carell fan either. His voice irritates me. But Gosling on the other hand...wowwwwwwww. He's a good looking man.
    That's surprising...NZ is 500 years behind everyone else!

    Tyler - It is a decent romantic comedy...well, it's better than most of the films of it's kind that have been coming out lately. I hope you enjoy it!

    Dan - Yeah, it's a bit conventional, but I still liked it!

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  5. At the beginning of the film I was thinking - don't be another one of those stories where someone tells someone else to cut their hair and get new clothes and suddenly they are irresistible to the opposite sex. Although that does take place to an extent I was surprised that in Crazy Stupid Love I wasn't put off by it. Be it the script, the performances, the fact it is both funny and moving, the film works and I especially loved the final third.

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You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

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