Jan 9, 2012

[Movies] Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

After watching this movie, I posted a status to my social media networks about something I term as "the new Rocky paradigm". What this means is the fact that I have come to accept that because of my partner, Tobie, I've come to accept the reality that I do enjoy romantic comedies. My geek self wants to reject this idea in favor of my science fiction movies and epic fantasy stuff, but there's no denying it. I suppose this comes with being in an awesome relationship and all that sort of stuff.

To my credit, it has to be a smart enough romantic comedy to merit my full appreciation. There are far too many movies out there that replace story with the price tag attached to the actors involved, which seem like such a waste of time. The romance part is fairly easy enough given the right chemistry, but as always its the comedy that requires more thought on the part of the writers.

And while I'm not particularly a big fan of Ryan Gosling or Steve Carell, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit.

Plus it's like an expansion piece for the never ending movie game that is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a 2011 romantic comedy directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa with a screenplay by Dan Fogelman.

The story begins with happily married Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) learning that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has cheated on him with her coworker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) and is now opting for them to divorce. Cal reluctantly moves out into an apartment of his own while they work through the legal stuff. In his depression, he starts to visit a bar where he tries to drown his sorrows in alcohol and eventually catches the attention of Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Jacob is your classic ladies man who is able to take home practically any woman he meets, perhaps save for one Hannah (Emma Stone) who manages to resist his charms.

English: Ryan Gosling outside a concert for hi...
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Jacob decides to help Cal out in his grief by coaching him on how to pick up women instead of just ranting about his divorce. Hannah on the other hand turns out to be a law student currently involved with Richard (Josh Groban). And random as this synopsis is getting, Cal's son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with his older babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who in turn harbors feelings for Cal. A bit missed up there at the end, but that's as clear as I can make things.

With a much smaller cast than some of the marquee romantic comedies in recent history like Valentine's Day and it's follow-up New Year's Eve. And that similarity worried me to some extent as the movie began but in time I was pleasantly surprised with how tight the narrative was and how well everything came together in the end. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Despite my love for The Office (again another Tobie introduction into my life), I have a weird love-hate relationship with Steve Carell. When he gets too extreme, he also becomes extremely annoying in terms of his particular brand of comedy. And I know that's more of a personal thing with me. I respect comedy that challenges the mind instead of relying on too much slapstick or gross-out moments. And Steve seems to have the capabilities for both schools of thought, but it's hard to figure out how he's going to be in this movie or that. Thankfully he was closer to his performance in Dan in Real Life this time around as opposed to The 40-Year Old Virgin.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19:  Marisa Tomei, Juliann...
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The real gem here is Emma Stone, who remains in top form. I loved her in Easy A and this movie just continues to prove how skilled she is as an actress and the great promise her career has at this point. She is a delightful character in this whole story and one who demonstrates interesting chemistry with Ryan Gosling without being any less powerful as a woman. And that's a tricky balance to achieve for certain since Ryan Gosling seems to be a completely different character in every movie he gets involved in (which is also impressive).

I really liked how the story panned out. At first it seemed like the whole Cal-Jacob arc was some weird rehash of Hitch, but then it developed into something far greater. And it was really nice to see Marissa Tomei again, and totally in top comedic form given her not so small role in this whole adventure. I appreciated her cameo a heck of a lot more than Josh Groban. But beyond her involvement, the whole story ended up in one neat little bow at the end that ensured a lot of the key stories were interconnected without feeling like a deus ex machina event happened to explain the story. Excellent writing to be sure.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a refreshing romantic comedy that isn't afraid to be smart without being overly complicated. If more movies like this are made, then I'll certainly line up to go see them. Thus I proudly rate this as 5 cheesy lines Jacob uses to pick-up women out of a possible 5.
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