Directed by: Glen Ficarra, John Requa
Starring: Steve Carrell, Ryan Gossling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marissa Tomei
Review: Often times, when it comes to romantic comedies, you can change the name of this movie to ‘Crazy, Stupid, Movie’ and people would have a better idea of what they’re getting into. ‘Rom-coms’ typically don’t offer much in the way of great filmmaking and don’t really show much more in the acting, writing or directing area either. Usually these movies just assume that we are all going to just forget about real life and accept whatever they throw at us. Now, while I know that is what movies are for to a certain extent, we are all still grounded in reality and having at least a little appreciation of said reality makes a film all that much more enjoyable.
‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ doesn’t necessarily give us a love story completely rooted in the real world (it’s not ‘Closer’ after all), but it does provide a little bit more of true humanity than the normal cutesy affair we see in most movies of this type. The story begins when Cal (Carrell) is told by his wife Emily (Moore) that she has slept with somebody else and now wants a divorce. This obviously sends Cal through the normal spiral where he goes, from sadness to anger, to complacency and can’t decide what to do with himself.
While attempting to drown himself in booze to forget his sorrows Cal comes in to contact with Jacob (Gossling), a real ladies man who feels sorry for Cal. He decides he is going to help Cal out and see if he can turn him into a ladies man. He gets Cal a new wardrobe, a new attitude, and a new outlook on life that allows Cal to be the ladies man he never had the chance to be when he was younger.
What Cal soon finds out is that even though he can fill his life with meaningless encounters with very attractive women, he can’t fill the hole that was left by his wife. His mentality then shifts from getting other women to getting his wife, his ‘soul mate,’ back. He enlists the help of his children in doing so and this all ends with a very humorous encounter at his house.
What separates this movie from most romantic comedies is it’s uncommon ability to stay in the real world. Most rom-com’s live in a world where everyone knows the right thing to say, people are smooth as can be and don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions. The people in this movie are real and they deal with real problems and have to accept real consequences for their actions. Save, that is, for one character who embodies all that I dislike about most romantic comedies. That character is Cal’s eldest son who is the ‘wise beyond his years’ child that speaks of advice that he shouldn’t have as a young 14 year-old.
This movie is worth your time.