Crazy, Stupid, Love
A dynamite cast can’t quite rescue Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei star in Crazy, Stupid, Love. It is unlikely you will find a better assemblage of talent anywhere. But wow, what a mediocre movie they’ve made.
The film’s flaws appear in both structure and in execution, so in a sense everyone is to blame. Whenever you have a mix of comedy and drama the comedy needs to be especially funny because, obviously, it doesn’t come as often as it normally would. That a decent portion of the comedy misses is the biggest disappointment of all.
Carell plays Cal, a sad-sack corporate schlump whose high school sweetheart wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce. Something about becoming disenchanted with her husband and sleeping with a co-worker (Bacon), she says. Ever the one to take things lying down, Cal retreats to moping, incessant rambling and feeling sorry for himself. This is expected.
On the flip side, Cal’s 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is infatuated with his babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who’s 17 and wants nothing to do with him. Never give up on true love, his father ironically tells him, which leads Robbie to a series of uncomfortable and unfunny scenes of stalking and emotional declarations.
As for Cal, ladies-man Jacob (Gosling) takes pity on him and gives Cal a much-needed makeover. With this comes a renaissance for Cal, who knows not the dangers of picking up women (Marisa Tomei) in bars. Meanwhile, Jacob falls for Hannah (Stone), a law student whose boyfriend (Josh Groban) is a pompous ass.
The idea behind directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s film is to show love from three different generations, but the one with the kids is just silly and Hannah is absent for almost the entire first half of the film. Dan Fogelman’s script is ambitious, but the logistics of screen time require more expedience.
Of course, all would be forgiven if this was funnier, but the laughs are too inconsistent. Carell makes the most of his material, and with The Office behind him it’ll be curious to see how his movie career progresses. He does awkward better than anyone, but it’s worth noting he played it straight in his best movies (Little Miss Sunshine, Dan In Real Life).
As for the rest of the cast, rising star Stone is solid but underused, Tomei shines in limited time, Bacon and Moore aren’t given much comedy to play with, and Gosling steps away from drama and does quite well for himself. The stars are not the problem, nor are they saviors.
Clearly, giving a full third of the film to two inexperienced actors (Bobo and Lipton) to pursue an irrelevant “young love” angle was a terrible decision. Worse, at no point do any of the love stories in Crazy, Stupid, Love. really complement one another, so all the switching back and forth stunts the flow of the story. It is possible to depict different love stories in the same movie (Love Actually did it perfectly), but many more directors have failed at this than have succeeded.
Crazy and stupid decisions were made in making this movie, which ensure you will not love it.
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. (2) Directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa • Starring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon •Rated PG-13 • 118 min •At Century Cinemas Del Monte, Maya Cinemas, Northridge Cinemas, Lighthouse Cinemas.