REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid, Love. Isn't Nearly Crazy Enough, But At Least There's Gosling
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is, for the most part, an effective love story, but the two figures in thrall to one another aren't the ones you think: The magnetism between the movie's two male stars, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, is what really makes the movie tick. The women -- and we're talking about women like Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and coltish relative newcomer Annaleigh Tipton -- almost function as accessories, although, as wonderful as these actresses are, that still isn't necessarily a liability. Everyone in Crazy, Stupid, Love. is served well by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's crisp, intelligent direction. Their instincts keep the story moving deftly; if only, right at the finish line, the movie didn't suffer from a giant failure of nerve.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. opens with a cozy montage of various anonymous couples playing footsie under the table. But when the camera cuts to the last set of feet, we can see that they're sad, dejected feet; feet whose owners haven't had sex (or at least good sex) in ages; feet that are about to throw in the towel. And that's exactly what Mrs. Feet -- or Emily, played by Moore -- has in mind. After she and husband Cal (Carell) leave the restaurant where they're having dinner, she announces flatly that after approximately a quarter-century together, she wants a divorce. She's had a fling with a co-worker and, she reasons -- somewhat unreasonably -- "I think the fact that I did it just shows how broken we are."
Cal is blindsided, stunned into a state of numbness. In the discussion that ensues as the two drive home, he loses his composure and jumps out of the car. Later, when they arrive home to greet their adolescent son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and his babysitter, Jessica (the appealing, mildly gawky Tipton), Robbie receives the news with measured indifference; mostly, he's just impressed that his father jumped out of a car.
Jessica, it turns out, has a huge crush on Cal, and that's only the beginning of the crazy, stupid romantic tribulations that unfold in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Cal begins hanging out in a slick bar, telling anyone who will listen (which is just about nobody) that he's a "cuckold" -- he gets a sad, sorry kick just out of using the word. One of the regular denizens of that bar is Gosling's Jacob, a ladykiller who favors suits that fit him so superbly you can barely spot an elbow wrinkle. He'd feel naked without a silk pocket square.
Jacob takes Cal under his wing for a makeover: "Are you Steve Jobs?" he quips, eyeing the beat-up New Balance sneakers Cal wears for every occasion. Noting Cal's saggy jeans, he announces, "You have a mom butt. Is that what you want?" Even sartorially clueless Cal has to concede that it isn't, and the two set off on a shopping spree for the man stuff that will change Cal's life.
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