Friday, September 2, 2011

Crazy Stupid Love - Movie Review

What makes a good romantic comedy? I’m sure there are many posts in the blogsphere that dissect this topic. For the most part, it’s a personal thing. Some people want the couple to get together no matter what. Others want exotic locations or fish-out-of-water scenarios. And some people actually watch ones with Katherine Hiegel in them!

For me, it has to be a bit classier than the normal stuff they churn out. When in Rome? No. No Strings Attached? Pass. These movies tell you everything in the trailer and they simply would be a waste of my time.

My taste lean more towards the likes of 500 Days of Summer. So when I saw the trailer for Crazy Stupid Love, I had high hopes. Although I’m one of the few people who can’t stand Steve Carell in The Office, I like him otherwise and he’s done a good job in the lead role in Date Night and Dan in Real Life. Also, the supporting cast has clout. Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore, I had high hopes for this one.

Definitely, uplifted by the acting, this film does work as a better-than-average romantic comedy. I’m a bit hesitant in my praise for this film because some of the storylines were too unbelievable. So anyone who wants to come at me with, “Really? You liked this contrived pabulum?” I don’t really have a leg to stand on in my argument. What I will say though is some of these types of movies simply work, I think it’s based on chemistry. A movie like Pretty Woman should not work at all, yet it does.

Carell stars as Cal, a loving husband with a beautiful family who gets a bombshell dropped on him. His wife and high school sweetheart, (Julianne Moore) wants a divorce. Cal has a tough time adjusting to single life until he meets the ultimate single guy, Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Jacob feels so sorry for Cal’s inept ways with the ladies that he forces his mentoring on Cal.

Cal’s storyline serves as the anchor for all the other storylines in the film. Some work, some don’t. Cal’s young son in love with his babysitter, did not work for me. The wise beyond his years, young kid bit is really wearing thin on me. Plus, the things he does to express his love are completely unbelievable.

The film immediately gains points in the “working” category when the lovely Emma Stone comes on screen. Her character, Hannah is a newly minted lawyer at a crossroads in life and her chemistry with Gosling is fantastic. They were funny and cute together.

As for the main characters Cal and Emily, I felt that Julianne Moore delivered a believable performance as a middle aged woman who’s not sure what she wants, she just knows she’s unhappy. As for Cal, some of his character traits worked. He’s a believable portrait of a loving husband and father, yet I have a hard time accepting that this character would hang out at an ultra-trendy club. I actually see Cal as someone who wouldn’t even be interested in dating for awhile. But then of course, we have no movie.

So, if the viewer can overlook these flaws, I think you could walk away quite satisfied with this one.

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