|Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love.|
Another in a growing list of anti-romantic comedies, Crazy, Stupid, Love. stars Steve Carell (The Office), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), and Emma Stone (Easy A) in what is a really well-put-together film that hits on all cylinders, from the writing, to the casting, to the directing. If this was the role that solidified Carell’s decision to walk away from his hit NBC sitcom, the comedic actor chose the right project to walk away with. This is his best film performance yet.
|Cal and Jacob are the new Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi|
Carell stars as Cal Weaver, a 40-something who is facing the biggest crisis of his life after his wife, Emily (Moore), tells him she wants a divorce after nearly 25 years of marriage. With no friends to turn to in his time of need, Cal begins frequenting a local bar shortly after moving out of his house. He spends the first two weeks talking about how Emily cheated on him. Eventually, Jacob (Gosling) intervenes, taking him under his wing. Jacob is a lothario whose nightly endeavors consist of meeting women at the bar to take home. Seeing Cal as a man who has let himself go in defeat, Jacob becomes determined to make him his understudy and the two develop a bond as Jacob becomes Cal’s sole confidant.
|Ryan Gosling’s Jacob trying to charm Emma Stone’s Hannah|
However, when Jacob finally manages to win over Hannah (Stone), he finds himself breaking his own rules and falling in love. Emma Stone, who’s been on a career high of late, offers her usual comic relief while playing a role that becomes increasingly important as the film progresses. Her character, Hannah, is more than the romantic voice of reason that the trailer suggests Jacob so desperately needs. Rather unsurprisingly, she is very much the heart of the film.
Along with Emma Stone’s stellar performance, the rest of the supporting cast is phenomenal. Julianne Moore is charming as Cal’s disgruntled wife, Emily, might be conflicted in what she is searching for, but her questionable actions never really tread towards despicable. Like everyone does at some point in relationships, and in life, Emily’s character is struggling with being content and her mistake is one that she ultimately pays for. Analeigh Tipton (America’s Next Top Model) may have found her breakout role as the Weaver’s babysitter, Jessica. In a odd twist, Jessica secretly holds a crush on Cal while constantly being pursued by Cal’s son, 13-year-old Robbie (Jonah Bobo). Bobo, as Robbie, plays a crucial part in the film, as it’s in his firm belief that everyone has a soul mate with whom they are destined to find love with. Finally, Robbie’s teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler), is a recovering alcoholic who happens to be the first woman Cal takes home from the bar.
|Emma Stone is phenomenal, as always.|
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is far from a typical Hollywood relationship comedy, and, in many ways, it is this year’s 500 Days of Summer. Both films are smart, edgy, and original PG-13 films about complicated relationships released amongst the major blockbusters, animated family films, and racy R-rated comedies that so often dominate during these months. Crazy, Stupid, Love. offers a very realistic take on the ins-and-outs of what complicates a romance, but it manages to do so in a very feel-good manner. This film is a very welcome gem to the final weeks of the summer movie season.