Movie review: ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’

In theaters

By Anthony Crabtree, Guest Blogger

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” written by Dan Fogelmann, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, 118 minutes, rated PG-13.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” begins with Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) saying that she wants a divorce from her husband, Cal (Steve Carell), in the middle of a busy restaurant. From that point, Cal’s life spirals downward and he begins to hang out at a bar every night discussing his love woes with anyone willing to listen. One night Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a stylish ladies man, approaches Cal offering his help to turn Cal’s pathetic life around.

The film may sound blase, and it oftentimes is. The bright spots in the film mostly revolve around Gosling, hilarious as the quick-talking, womanizing man who sets out to fix Cal. Gosling does well with both the comedic aspects of his character, which revolve mostly around with his frank and deprecating conversations with Cal. Along with that, Gosling handles the dramatic moments that the character faces well, turning what could be a one-dimensional character into one with several layers.

Carell, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as successful. As Cal, he blends in with every other role that he has ever done. This isn’t necessarily negative if you enjoy Carell, but the difference between Cal and Dan from “Dan in Real Life” is hardly noticeable.

Emma Stone and the rest of the cast do a fine job, but out of the entire supporting roles, Kevin Bacon delivers a subtle and fine performance as David, the man who Emily had an affair with before leaving Cal. Bacon does not create a sleazy character out of David, but rather approaches him from a rational and level-headed standpoint. We never view David as a bad guy and Bacon approaches him as an everyman who is falling in love with a married woman.

The writing in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” is at times refreshing and welcome. The comedic moments never go over the top like many recent comedies, allowing for the dramatic moments and what the characters experience to feel genuine. Unfortunately, the dialogue is far too cliche. Hearing lines like “I should have fought for you,” and the constant use of the term “soul mate” becomes grating.

The film drags toward the end, as there’s an obvious resolution where maximum happiness will be achieved that the film is heading toward, yet Cal makes ridiculous decisions and hold grudges which creates a rather dull final 20 minutes. Despite this, the film is entertaining and Gosling’s performance is certainly noteworthy.

Grade: B-

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