Not so stupid after all
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Written by: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore
Crazy, Stupid, Love – yes, the first act of the film is a little crazily structured and yes, it is a romantic comedy that has characters fighting for love, struggling with love and finding love. But stupid? Surprisingly not.
Recently divorced Cal (Carell) gets out of his self-pitying, cranberry-vodka sucking funk with a hot young ladies man, Jacob (Gosling), who helps him see the benefits of dressing smartly, picking up women and enjoying single life. But when it comes to true love and knowing how to mend a marriage that lost its spark over the years, Cal realizes that his own thirteen year old son can teach him more about the power of optimism and perseverance, with his own love-struck crush on the family’s babysitter, than the female-magnet Jacob who finds himself asking Cal for advice.
While the dialogue of Crazy, Stupid, Love can get a little heavy at times – especially with the character of Cal’s wife, Emily (Moore) – it is the light comedy and moving gestures of romance that make the film an enjoyable watch. Even from the opening scenes of couples playing footsie under the table in a restaurant, and their juxtaposition to Cal and Emily’s rather dead feet, Crazy, Stupid Love establishes itself from the first few frames that the film has a lot more to say and offer than simply crude humour and predictable, cheesy outcomes. Instead, it is clever in its approach to a genre that has made us cringe time and time again as the jarring cuts from one perspective to another, one story to another and one character to another soon become tied together in a climax and resolution that is definitely worth the wait.
Had the film taken greater pains to give Jacob (Gosling) and his newfound love Hannah (Stone) depth through more convincing motivations, and cut down on other superfluous, weaker jokes, the film would have been more complete, satisfying and powerful. Nevertheless, Crazy, Stupid, Love will seduce you with its charming mildness in sexual humour (which have become the easy way out for most rom-coms) and its deeper, family-oriented message on true love and the rewards you reap from fighting for it.