Crazy, Stupid, Love Review
Steve Carell has created one of television's all-time great characters in Michael Scott on The Office. Now that he is done with television, attention is now driven to whether he is a movie star or not. Sure he had 40 Year Old Virgin, but maybe that was a fluke. Well, after seeing Crazy, Stupid, Love, I can confirm to you that, that was no fluke. Steve Carell is the real deal as he is the true star of the film despite it being an ensemble film that tackles three different storylines. The film, itself, is also pretty good and a great addition to this summer's great group of comedies.
Crazy, Stupid, Love follows family-man Carl Weaver (Steve Carell) as he tries to put his life back together after his wife (Julianne Moore) tells him that she wants a divorce. There to pick up the pieces is lothario Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) as he teaches Carl how to seduce women and get his wife's attention. Also caught in this mess is Hannah (Emma Stone), a girl that Carl may have actually feelings for, Carl's son (Jonah Bobo), who is smart beyond his years and has a crush on his babysitter, and the babysitter (Analeigh Tipton), who has a crush on Carl.
This may sound a bit confusing but screenwriter Dan Fogelman does a great job of making all of these messy relationships clear. More amazing, though, is that Fogelman makes, for the most part, all of the relationships feel connected to the story and never makes it seem absurd. The one place where it almost crosses the line is with a twist in a backyard scene. They only give small bits of foreshadowing to the twist (to the point that it would be pretty much impossible to predict the twist). Luckily, the twist happens in the best scene in the film and makes it seem a lot better. This scene in a backyard contains so much chaos and "WTF-ness" that you can't help but laugh hysterically. The scene also reveals another one of the film's strengths: it's direction. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa do a great job of staging all of the important scenes. They also do a great job of including motifs and continuing them in meaningful ways throughout the film (such as the sight of shoes).
The creative team did quite a few things right, but they did not create a perfect film (or even a great one). The major problem with this film is it seems that Ficarra, Fogelman and Requa came up with a bunch of great scenes instead of an entire film. What occurs because of this is that the film seems like it is made up of a bunch of great ideas bunched together with lousy connective tissues. Some scenes seem contrived or cheesy and it all leads to a cliche and overly sentimental ending.
The highlight of the film, however, is the acting. Steve Carell is phenomenal in the role and continues to take his lovable dofus character-type to greater heights. Ryan Gosling is perfectly cast as the suave Jacob and has amazing chemistry with everyone he interacts with through the course of the film. Julianne Moore and Emma Stone may not have the best written characters but they do the most that they can with their roles (especially Moore who plays the villain of the film but makes her character sympathetic). The real surprise of the film, though, is Analeigh Tiption as she makes it look easy playing what may be the toughest role in the film (she has to play a teenager in love with a man in his 40s and you never want her to hook up with the 40-year-old). The only low point of the cast is Marisa Tomei who should definitely stick to drama. The less said about her performance, the better.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is an adeqaute romantic-comedy that has some great moments but never fully knows what it is doing. Luckily, the highs are much higher than the lows are low in this film.
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