Crazy Stupid Love. I hadn’t really heard about this movie (maybe it’s because I was overdosed on Ryan Gosling, seriously how many movies has he done lately?) but after watching it yesterday, I realized I definitely missed out.
Here’s the basic premise. Steve Carell (a la Dan in Real Life not Anchorman) and his wife Julianne Moore end up deciding to get a divorce because Moore cheated on her husband with Kevin Bacon. Carell then meets the always charismatic Ryan Gosling, who teaches him how to pick up women. Imagine an indie-film version of Hitch, minus Paul Blart and the Fresh Prince. Although the first half of the movie is pretty similar, the ending of this movie is pretty unique. Things come together in a pretty interesting way (and one that I didn’t see coming).
Who shines? Both Carell and Gosling play their parts perfectly, though there’s nothing unique about these performances. Gosling is a charming womanizer, which is a little less romantic than his other notable performances, but it still seems to come naturally. And Carell calls back to more dramatic performances such as Dan in Real Life and Little Miss Sunshine. I loved both of those movies, so I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s nice to see some emotion from the usually standout funnyman.
The most dynamic lovestory in this tale (for me, anyways) was a one-sided crush from Carell’s 13-year-old son, who is madly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter. However, the babysitter is in love with Steve Carell. This movie should have been called Crazy
Stupid Love Triangle. The little dude is such a fighter though, you can’t help but root for him.
What doesn’t work? Most of the supporting cast is like… meh. Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, and even Emma Stone are just there. Nothing spectacular about them. Emma Stone does have that quirky nerdy thing going on, but there’s only really one scene that capitalizes on that (but that scene, which is between her and Gosling, is one of the more memorable ones). This movie is really held up by Carell and Gosling, so it feels like everyone else got put on the backburner. Julianne Moore made zero progress as a character.
Overall: It’s an enjoyable movie. It’s touching, it’s funny, it makes you think about love and what you’re willing to fight for. At the end of the movie though, it leaves you with a bit of an aftertaste that isn’t completely fulfilling (which is the fault of the indie genre in general). Yes, we’ve thought about deep things but sometimes we just want a happy ending.
I’m giving the movie four stars. Carell and Gosling really do have some chemistry, both independently and together. The movie also takes a tried formula and spins it on its head. It’s worth a watch but I know it won’t be up everyone’s alley, which is why it gets 4 stars.