MARCH 31, 2012

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.”

—Albert Einstein

It would be easy to call “Crazy, Stupid, Love” just another typical romantic comedy, ranging the same ideological issues with the same emotional level brought on by every other romantic comedy released these days. And from the outside, this film looks like (minus the fantastic ensemble cast). What you’d miss, however, is one of the best romantic comedies of all time (or films in general, for that matter), becoming so much more than just a romantic comedy and bordering the line of award-worthy dramedy.

There is a richness to “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” There are no wasted performances in the film. I look at any film released these days (especially comedies) and notice the number of “filler” characters, adding nothing to the film. “Crazy, Stupid, Love” finds an enriching story for all of its cast of characters, leaving no performance wasted and allowing fulfilling character arcs and developments for almost everyone involved. There are no coincidences in the film. Every bit carries on somewhere else in the movie, causing wonderful surprises and epiphanies; the proof of inspired writing from Dan Fogelman, known for his work with Walt Disney (“Cars,” “Bolt,” “Tangled”).

Ryan Gosling has proven himself one of the best actors currently working in Hollywood. Even before 2011, I was enjoying his work, but with 2011 came “Drive,” “The Ides of March,” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Each of these films proved something different for Gosling and his rising name. What “Crazy, Stupid, Love” proved was that Gosling, playing single man Jacob Palmer, could be funny and carry almost an entire film with his wit and bravado. We’ve seen this suave, ladies’ man character before, teaching the ways of picking up chicks. But we’ve never seen this role performed with such poise and grace as it is with Ryan Gosling, who is easy to believe as this character. Very few actors in Hollywood could have pulled off this role with such ease, and that performance brought this film a sophistication that no other romantic comedy possesses.

I have never been a massive fan of Steve Carell’s until now. His supporting performances are always worth a laugh in films like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, but his recent run as the leading man in “Dan In Real Life” and “Date Night” were less than truly enjoyable. However, in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” as Cal Weaver, the soon-to-be-divorcee, Steve Carrell, fits his role without being distracting or overzealous. Jacob (Gosling) vows to teach Cal his ways and turn him into a ladies’ man so that his wife (Julianna Moore) will “rue the day.” Carell hits his moments, plays to his strengths, and garners my affection for his character. Without him, this film would not be the same, and you can’t say that for most of his prior performances.

The female cast is essential for this film, as well. We must fall in love with them to truly get what the film wants to give. Julianna Moore, as Emily Weaver, must be hated for cheating, but there is always kindness in her eyes, telling us that she is coming from a commendable place. Emma Stone, as Hannah, takes a while to delve into her part but comes out strong with her endearing nature with a touch of maturity that affects most of the main characters. Even Analeigh Tipton, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” delivers a strong performance as babysitter Jessica Riley, offering some light moments as the centerpiece for Robbie, Cal, and Emily’s son (Jonah Bobo) and his obsession.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” lifts most of its ensemble cast to a level they had yet to reach in their careers. Without this film, Gosling’s year would have been commendable but not as well-rounded, bringing about a perfect year for him. Here we can take Steve Carell seriously, showing a more profound, emotional side behind his goofy exterior. And Emma Stone takes her first step (with “The Help” offering a considerable measure) away from her goofy-natured comedies (“Easy A,” “House Bunny,” “Superbad”). The film has so much heart, bringing a great mix of tears and laughter, allowing for a genuinely euphoric experience of love and the pains that come along. Round that out with the perfect soundtrack, and there is no way of counting how many times you will view this film.

July 29, 2011

Glenn Ficarra
John Requa

Dan Fogelman

Warner Bros. Pictures

(for coarse humor, sexual content and language)

118 minutes

Andrew Dunn

Christophe Beck
Nick Urata

Lee Haxall

Steve Carell
Ryan Gosling
Julianne Moore
Emma Stone
John Carroll Lynch
Marisa Tomei
Kevin Bacon
Josh Groban
Analeigh Tipton
Joey King

Steve Carell
Denise Di Novi

$50 million

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