Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)


The War Between the Sexes is Over.  Men Won the Second Women Started Doing Pole Dancing for Exercise

I felt like it was necessary to follow my reviews of the Rocky franchise with something entirely not-Rocky.  This, of course, led to me renting Warrior from RedBox.  But we’ll get to that in a couple of days.  After a bit of a near death experience I had today, I felt like I needed something life affirming.  And, after my roommate Richard yelled at me for suffering through my crippling pain in silence and driving myself to the ER without telling him even though I had to walk past his room to get to my car, he was able to suggest just the right movie for me.  And it was one that came out within the last 50 years, unlike most of the movies he watches.  Let’s see if this movie affirmed my life in my review of Crazy, Stupid, Love, written by Dan Fogelman, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton, Joey King, Beth Littleford, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) sits down to dinner with his wife Emily (Julianne Moore).  He orders the salad and she orders a divorce.  Emily confesses that she cheated on him with a coworker of hers, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) because she was unhappy with their marriage.  Cal does not take it well.  He starts frequenting a bar, getting drunk and talking loudly about his divorce.  Eventually, this catches the attention of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), who decides to make Cal his pet project, turning call into a womanizer just like him.  Under Jacob’s tutelage, Cal’s first conquest is a teacher named Kate (Marisa Tomei), which will more than likely never come back to haunt him.  But Cal’s is not the only love story that’s not going well.  Cal’s 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bob) has fallen in love with his babysitter, 17-year-old Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton).  Jessica is having none of the younger Robbie, much preferring the much older Cal, who is in turn having nothing to do with that jailbait.  Jacob also begins to have feelings for a girl named Hannah (Emma Stone).

This is a flawed movie, to be sure, but it’s one I found genuinely likeable.  There were parts to the story I took issue with, but there were also plenty occasions in this movie that caused me to burst into laughter, something most movies don’t have the ability to do (intentionally, at least).  And it did indeed have a happy, life affirming ending.  It didn’t go for the silly convention of tying everything up in a pretty little bow and giving us the happily ever after, but it was close enough and better for it.  Let’s talk about the story first.  I appreciated it for being a really good and deep look at a crumbling marriage and how it affects those around it.  The alcoholism, the depression, the denial, all of these things came into the picture.  In comes the guy that seems to give the character what he really wants with a bunch of strange tail, but all he actually wants is his wife.  It seems to lead you down the path of believing that love is a lie and there’s no such thing as soulmates, but it flips the script on you for the end.  And the part right before the ending was a fantastic and hilarious way to smash together all of the different storylines, but it will require a ::SPOILER ALERT::  Near the end is when it’s revealed that Hannah, who is dating Jacob, is the first child of Cal and Emily.  Cal was casually flippant about the idea that Jacob was settling down with a girl before he knew that this girl was his daughter.  And he had seen too much of Jacob’s sluttier behavior to let that go down.  Of course the rest of the family would like to know how Cal came to know Jacob, but that would cast a negative light on Cal.  The “love triangle” between Cal, his son Robbie, and the babysitter Jessica comes to a head when Jessica’s parents finds that she’s taken nude photos of herself with the intent to give them to Cal.  Jessica’s parents show up and attack Cal as they’re all still working with the Jacob and Hannah situation, and this reveals Robbie’s love for Jessica and Jessica’s love for Cal, which causes more problems.  And then top it all off with David Lindhagen walking in to return Emily’s scarf to her, and shit just goes down.  This was definitely the emotional climax of the movie, and it felt like it should’ve been wrapped up with a good bit of dialogue immediately after this.  That’s not the way they went with it.  They went back to depressing for a bit before bringing us back to a happy ending.  It took a little longer, but it was still satisfying.  But it also was one of the best examples of a big problem I had with the story, but this does not require spoilers so ::END SPOILERS::  I’ve noticed a dangerous trend recently that is at least partially upheld by this movie.  It seems that, in the opinion of the masses, men are stupid and bad and women can do no wrong.  It felt like Cal was getting blamed for everything that was going wrong in this movie.  Yes, I grant that he may have been emotionally disconnected in the relationship, but that’s hardly an excuse to cheat on him.  Then, when it comes out that Cal slept with 9 women after their separation, Emily gets all mad at him.  First of all, we’re separated right now, so it’s none of your gundamned business.  Second, have you forgotten that you also had sex with someone else, but didn’t have the good sense to wait until we were separated?  This kind of stuff got on my nerves, but the movie still managed to be really good and really funny.  Any movie that makes a joke about how shitty Twilight is will be considered alright in my book.

I cannot think of any performance in this movie that I didn’t love.  It’s a star-studded cast and I expected no less from them.  They didn’t disappoint.  Steve Carell has shown us his comedic side and his dramatic side plenty of times before, and he pulls of both here fantastically.  I also like seeing him play drunk, because it’s usually really funny.  Ryan Gosling is probably the reason women would want to see this movie, and he gets his shirt off and shows the world that I am his body double.  Julianne Moore is Carell’s opposite in that she’s known for being a fantastic dramatic actress, but has done some good with comedy as well.  Emma Stone is great times to look at, and does a great deal of comedy as well.  I tend to always find her very charming.  Analeigh Tipton had unconventional good looks in this movie, but is still very attractive.  I kept thinking she looks like a younger, brunette Riki Lindhome, and that’s alright by me.  She also gives a very real performance in this movie.  I think Marisa Tomei tended to steal the show every time she was on camera.  She wasn’t in the movie that often, but when she was she was pretty hilarious as she completely flipped out over thinking Steve Carell had lied to her to get her in the sack, although I’m fairly sure he didn’t.

This movie borders on being a bit of a chick flick, but I found it to be a really good movie nonetheless.  It was well-written though it does seem to hate men, it was incredibly funny in parts, and the performances were all fantastic.  I definitely recommend this movie to you, as a watch, rental, or purchase.  I’ll probably purchase it myself at some point.  Crazy, Stupid, Love gets “Seriously?!  It’s like you’re Photoshopped!” out of “The perfect combination of sexy and cute.”

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