Wow, it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve written on this thing. While it has mainly been due to a bout of laziness, there has also been nothing showing lately that has seemed interesting to me. Even Crazy, Stupid, Love wasn’t really on my radar until my girlfriend suggested we catch a late screening the other night so I have her to thank for this weeks film. Other than that, no real stories to tell. I’ve seen a few good trailers lately so I’m keen for the summer releases over here. In Time looks awesome since it has an awesome science fiction concept and a good looking cast (specifically Cillian Murphy and Olivia Wilde). Anyway, on to this week’s movie!
Now Showing this week is Crazy, Stupid, Love which is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. It tells the story of a geeky, pathetic man named Cal (Steve Carell) having just being divorced by his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) is now a single man and failing miserably at it given all he talks about is his boring job and his now ex-wife. He meets a very handsome and stylish man named Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who decides he is going to teach Cal his womanising ways, including how to dress stylishly, excellent pick up techniques etc. However, there is still the lingering connection that Cal shared with Emily and perhaps he isn’t ready to give up on her. That’s basically the plot without spoiling anything so I’ll have to leave it there.
So, this film is pretty good I must say. I went into this film expecting a bumbling Steve Carell-esque comedy like The 40 Year Old Virgin but thankfully that wasn’t what I got. While those kind of films are alright and humorous, instead I was given a very straight faced dramatic film that had a fair few comedic elements. This was so refreshing! I actually liked and cared about the different characters, so when they were in a sticky situation or being emotionally confronted, I actually engaged with what was happening to them. A big part of this effect I believe was due to the fact that Steve Carell was trying to pull a Jim Carrey of us and show that he can be a serious dramatic actor as well as a slapstick comedian; and he can. When he wasn’t making a fool of himself, Cal had some fantastic serious moments that illustrated his sadness and frustration with his current circumstances and it developed him as a character. I love this kind of depth in a comedy, it makes the whole experience so much more entertaining.
The film was guilty of a few cliches, for example, that Cal’s son is so insightful on the world of love even though he’s only thirteen. But that was a cliche that I felt worked, or at least it worked for me because from a child’s simplified perspective we can really see how stupid life (or in this case love) can be. Hence the title really: “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” That was a highlight, that this film wasn’t glorifying love as the grandest thing in existence; it was exploring the ridiculousness and the hurtfulness of it and defining it as crazy and stupid. Well, it was exploring that until towards the end where everything becomes more “love conquers all” and all that crap. While that section was very touching, I felt it cheapened all the earlier parts of the film. Maybe that was just me.
Ryan Gosling was the biggest highlight for me however, he was amazing. His ladies man persona was so well written and crafted, it was a joy to watch. His conversations with his “prey” were actually witty rather than being established as witty, and as a friend of mine brought up the other day that isn’t done enough. Dialogue in comedies should actually be witty and funny rather than other characters simply saying “that’s so witty/funny!”; and Crazy, Stupid, Love fits into the former very well.
So in closing, Crazy, Stupid, Love may have a silly (if relevant) name, lack it’s true purpose towards the end and use a cliche or two; but it’s still a good example of comedy. Serious characters with serious development and motivations but in a scenario that is ridiculous yet plausible. And the comedic climax at around the three quarter mark is so unexpected and hilarious that it made the whole film worth it. If you have the time, go check this movie out. Bring a date, they’ll love it too. See you next time!