Movie Review Monday: Crazy Stupid Love

Mike Finkelstein obviously needs no help when it comes to the ladies. But IF he did, he would definitely ask Ryan Gosling for some advice. That’s what Steve Carell did, and he got Marisa Tomei! Here is Mike’s review of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

Mike Finkelstein obviously needs no help when it comes to the ladies.  But IF he did, he would definitely ask Ryan Gosling for some advice.  That’s what Steve Carell did, and he got Marisa Tomei!  Here is Mike’s review of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

PLOT: When Cal’s (Steve Carell) life and marriage start to crumble around him, he tries to rediscover and reinvent himself with the help of professional ladies man, Jacob (Ryan Gosling).  Meanwhile, Jacob has his own feelings developing for the one woman he can’t seem to charm (Emma Stone), and Cal’s 13-year-old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) feels like he found his soulmate in the form of his 17-year-old babysitter (Analeigh Tipton).

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Finally, after all the romantic comedies recently that have either been mediocre by-the-book fare or fallen on their faces in the dirt, we are given a smart, sophisticated, and real film in the form of CRAZY STUPID LOVE.

CRAZY STUPID LOVE is sometimes crazy and never stupid, but with all the wild foolishness that befalls all these characters on behalf of the noun after the adjectives, it is the perfect title.  We have Cal (Steve Carell), a man void of any style, who after 25 years of marriage to his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) is told that she slept with someone and wants a divorce.  Depressed and lost like a puppy wandering the streets, Cal wanders into a local lounge to enjoy his Vodka Cranberry through a straw and tell anybody who will listen about his wife with home wrecker David Lindhagen.

Enter Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling)—a smooth, “photoshopped” body, ladies’ man who could basically lay any girl he wants…essentially the guy that all guys want to be.  Jacob’s offer is to help Cal find himself again as a man, get his wife back, and most importantly, “be better than the Gap”.

Wait, remember when I said he could get any girl?  I forgot about Hannah (Emma Stone)—the one girl who seems to be immune to Jacob’s charm.  Despite her best friend begging her to stop studying for the bar exam, dump her current tool of a boyfriend, and start studying the ceiling of Jacob’s bedroom (you get the idea), she plays it safe and will no such thing.

Oh yeah, one more thing I forgot to mention—Cal’s 13-year-old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo).  Robbie is madly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).  She, in turn, is in love with Cal.

You see how crazy this movie could get?

What makes CRAZY STUPID LOVE so invigorating is the fact that even with all these people and intertwining storylines, everything still manages to feel fresh and authentic.  For the first time in a long time in a movie, we don’t have a definitive ending for any of the characters.  All we see is how they each deal with their given circumstances and how they try to get through any heartache or dilemma the best way they know how, whether their choices be smart or just plain stupid.  Usually, it’s a stupid choice, and it ends up in a hell of a lot of laughter for the audience.

None of the heart and soul would have been in the film without the witty script and wonderful cast to speak its words.  Love is the main issue here, and with something so sensitive, every line has a subtext to it.  Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei (still as sexy as she was in MY COUSIN VINNY), Kevin Bacon, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton, Liz Lapira and all the rest of the supporting cast mirror that beautifully, and the chemistry between everyone is so smooth and easy flowing that it’s a pleasure to watch.

The two main leads, though, deserve special attention.  We all know Steve Carell can do crazy comedy, but with DAN IN REAL LIFE, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and now this, I think we can start identifying him as a leading man.  Seeing him transform at points had the audience cheering.  He can bring out the subtle humor in one scene while playing it straight and honest in the next, and has definitely proven he has chops to keep going further into drama.  As for Gosling, this is the first real comedy the man has done, and he’s good.  He’s still simple and restrained, but his sarcastic nature makes him hysterical.  The man is up there with George Clooney as one of the few actors to mirror the Golden Age of Hollywood, and hopefully, between his serious roles and blog, he’ll throw some more comedies in there.

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have done an amazing job on this movie.  It is smart, funny, beautifully shot and well paced, and you never know what is going to come next (you’ll see…).  The only thing that went a little far at times had to do with the storylines of Robbie and Jessica, but even that wasn’t too bad, especially remembering how confused we all were when we were that age (oh, the babysitter crushes…).  CRAZY STUPID LOVE is easily on my top ten list for this year, and I have no doubt it’ll be on yours as well.  You’d be crazy not to.

GRADE: A-

Mike’s LIKES:

1) RYAN GOSLING: The man is smooth as anything, and in the realm of women, does what every man aspires to do.  And when he comes across a “game changer”, he someone becomes even more charming.  Oh, and it has just become my goal to have that body in a year…

2) STEVE CARELL: Steve Carell has unrivaled comedic timing.  He knows every beat to hit with both drama and comedy, and even in the more exaggerated moments, comes across real and heartfelt.   You can’t help but love him.

3) COLOR SCHEMES: In the office, everything is sterile and white. At the bar, there are only rich, smoother tones.  At home, it’s just a mix of everything, and as plane as Cal’s New Balance sneakers, only growing richer in tones as he matures.   Glenn Ficarra and John Requa paint three separate beautiful worlds with their color.

4) ASSHOLE: The word was used so much, and in such a great context. It is now officially attached to both “The Scarlett Letter” and this film.

5) LIZ LAPIRA: When you’re in a film with a top billed cast like this one, and yet you still manage to steal every scene you’re in, you know you’re doing something right.  As Hannah’s best friend, Liz Lapira does just that, and I look forward to many more roles from her in the future.

6) FEET: I guess the saying, “Walk a mile in another man’s shoes” has a brand new meaning.  Glenn Ficarra and John Requa use those feet and shoes to show each and every character’s personality, and tell a story.  A great plot device!

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) YOUNG LOVE: I have to admit, while this was cute for the first part, the storyline between Robbie and Jessica started to get a bit creepy…

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Josh Groban’s feature film debut

2) There are many comments about Hannah’s life being very PG-13.  The film, is in fact, PG-13, and in accordance with the rating’s rule, uses the F-word only once.

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