Monday, August 8, 2011
"Crazy, Stupid, Love" Review -Bayley
Steve Carrell (The Office) plays Cal: A man who in the first scene of the film has his heart broken by his wife, Emily (played by Julianne Moore), as she asks for a divorce at dinner in a restaurant. This causes him to repeatedly go out to a cocktail lounge to drink away some misery, until Jacob notices him. Ryan Goslings' "Jacob" takes it upon himself to give Cal a confidence boost by going with him on a shopping spree montage of fine clothing and giving him a few helpful tips and one-liners to pick up women. It works. Not only for the character Cal, who gains confidence and even meets a lovely, energetic nutcase (Kate, played by Marisa Tomei), but it works for us as the audience. Cal is so funnily heartbroken and Gosling's performance as Jacob strikes just the right chord between effortlessly cool and spot-on sharp, that their likability just enhances the chemistry.
The only problems are that there are so many sideplots that it actually hinders the story in a few places. With Cal's son falling for the family babysitter, to Emma Stone's "Hannah" finding herself into Jacob's life, to Emily's affair with David Lindhagen, played by Kevin Bacon, there is a nice balance to it all but it's only inevitable that something would get shortchanged. I found it to be Emily's backstory. Why did she find herself sleeping with David Lindhagen in the first place? What was going wrong in her marriage with Cal? She never really tells us fully. We never know. We are supposed to side with both characters in the divorce because they are sympathetic and we want them to reconnect. We're supposed to get into the present and forget that past but that's bothersome because that's the catalyst for the entire plot!
One other problem bothered me about this film that stops it from being perfect.....
(MINOR SPOILER ALERT)
There is a climax in the plot at the son's graduation scene where speeches are made and character's get their revelations, so on and so forth. The film almost feels very realistic, for a romantic comedy in it's formula anyway. This scene breaks that off and goes into such unrealistic territory that it's annoying. Why did this script need this scene? Why couldn't the setting have changed?
I will say this. The script does have plenty of twists and surprises to keep you thoroughly engaged. It's rare to have things come up where, in this day and age, you do not see them coming, but writer Dan Fogelman at least was able to have it happen. My full fledged praise for this film goes out to the cast, particularly Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Ryan Gosling is truly one of the most talented young actors working today. He has had his serious and intense roles but he owns this role, giving us something new and enjoyable to watch once again. If Jacob was too much of his "character", he could have been tiring and we could have thought he is purely all outer persona and not anything within. With Gosling working, we keep wanting more Jacob. He steals every scene until Stone shares it with him. Her personality is too attractive to not enjoy. She has a presence and talent there. You can see it fully-fledged in Easy A but here,when you are the most memorable person in a film full of this cast, you have to give credit to her.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a good film and an enjoyable film that could have been perfect. That is the only reason as a review it may seem a tad harsh. But with every character being fun to watch and a story told well enough to have you smiling, if you were looking to see the film, it just may be the ticket you will want to buy.
Bayley: 3/4 Stars.