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Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

July 29, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

http://crazystupidlove.warnerbros.com/index.html

Release Date: July 29th, 2011

Rated PG for mature theme, language may offend

Running time: 118 minutes

Glenn Ficarra (dir.)

John Requa (dir.)

Dan Fogelman (writer)

Christophe Beck (music)

Nick Urata (music)

Steve Carell as Cal

Ryan Gosling as Jacob

Julianne Moore as Emily

Emma Stone as Hannah

Analeigh Tipton as Jessica

Jonah Bobo as Robbie

Joey King as Molly

Marisa Tomei as Kate

Kevin Bacon as David Lindhagen

Josh Groban as Richard

©Warner Bros. Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.  Photo by Ben Glass

(L-r) RYAN GOSLING as Jacob and STEVE CARELL as Cal in Warner Bros. Pictures’ comedy “CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Our reviews below:

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

My feelings as I left the screening of Crazy, Stupid, Love. were as decidedly mixed as the uneven screenplay by Dan Fogleman.  It’s not that the film doesn’t have some very good moments born out of the genuinely natural leading performances and sometimes insightful script.  Just that parts of it are so bad as they needlessly fall into typical romantic-comedy clichés, with all of the pointless sub-plots and obnoxious side characters coming together in a way that almost always feels contrived.

In the opening scene of the film, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) has his wife of nearly 25 years, Emily (Julianne Moore) tell him over dinner that she wants a divorce.  His consecutive nights are spent at the bar, where he catches the attention of a slick womanizer, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), who always gets the girl after he insists on buying them a drink.  Jacob takes Cal under his wing, helping the middle-aged man buy a new wardrobe and teaching him the tricks of the trade on how to pick up willing women.  But things change when Jacob meets Hannah (Emma Stone), and finds himself experiencing true love for the first time.

These are the parts of the Crazy, Stupid, Love. that make it work as a sweet dramedy about mature romance.  Steve Carell gets some very nice moments as he tries to win back his wife, and Julianne Moore brings an honest emotion to her role.  By far the best parts of the film come from the endlessly charming performances of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.  The best scene here is a touching one between them, that includes a genuinely hilarious reference to Dirty Dancing.  But the film is overlong at a unprecedented 118-minutes, and about 40-minutes of that could have used a great deal of work in the editing room.

Far too much screen time is spent with Cal’s young teenage son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo).  The 13-year-old keeps offering smug and arrogant little speeches about love, as he outdoes himself with creepy ways to profess his affection for his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).  This storyline drags down the entire movie as it moves forward in ways that are more disturbing than they are anything approaching cute or funny.  This unbelievably pointless sub-plot with the babysitter shouldn’t have just been toned down, but removed completely on every level.  The talented Marisa Tomei is also seriously out-of-place as another unfortunately obnoxious side character.

Dan Fogleman has been a credited screenwriter on some wonderful animated films like Cars and Bolt, and some of his writing here is quite sharp.  But it often feels like the convergence of parts from two separate screenplays, with one paling greatly in comparison to the other.  This ultimately makes it lack the focus that this sort of multi-character comedy would have needed.  Some of this also comes from the directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa – (I was in the critical minority in not offering a glowing recommendation to their previous effort I Love, You Phillip Morris) – who chose to shoot a climactic scene as pure chaos.

What’s good about Crazy, Stupid, Love. is really good.  What’s bad about it is quite frankly downright terrible.  The fact that it could have been great makes this uneven mix all the more disheartening.  There’s enough good stuff here to make it worth a look on DVD, but on the flipside, enough bad stuff to keep it from being worth the price of a ticket.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

At the beginning of Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is having dinner with his wife Emily (Julianne Moore), when she announces that she has had an affair and wants a divorce.  We also see womanizer Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) picking up women, and eventually being turned down by one – Hannah (Emma Stone) – who already has a boyfriend (although her friend thinks she’s just settling).  The storylines soon intertwine, as when Cal goes to a bar after his break-up, he meets Jacob who teaches him how to ‘get over his wife’ and live the single life again.

At times, the way the plots come together is clichéd, although it’s not so much a problem that any of it is clichéd, but that too much of it is.  This is mainly in the subplots, and I’d say that the problem with the film is that the balance of quality in the storylines (main and subplots) is incredibly uneven.  I wouldn’t really change much with Cal or Jacob and their main stories, but the storylines with the babysitter, as well as the teacher are definitely completely needless and detract rather than add to the story.  In some ways this seems like a script that was trying too hard for its own good.

But when Crazy, Stupid, Love. is good, it is really good.  Probably the best sequence in the whole film is the one where Jacob and Hannah are falling in love.  This is a thankful breath of fresh air half-way through a film that’s starting to drag.  If only the whole movie had played to that level as the potential was clearly there for a really great film.  Most of the parts with Cal are good too, and I was actually surprised there weren’t more scenes between him and Jacob.  The trailer illustrated that this would be the main plot of the film, although we deviate a lot into the subplot arenas – and not just Emily’s subplot which would have been fine for a bit, but the other needless ones as well.

With a little (read 25 minutes here) of editing, and maybe a few more passes at the script even before that, this could have been a whole lot better.  I was thinking to myself that this would be a good one for aspiring screenwriters to watch, because you can watch good movies and say they’d be easy to write, or watch bad movies and not quite know what makes them so bad, but rarely is a film uneven to this extent between the two.  It is easy to see the difference between the storylines, and also to analyze when it works and doesn’t particularly around the subplots.  But that’s [analyzing] not really the point of going to the movies, so I must say that Crazy, Stupid, Love, is pleasant enough to watch and the good scenes keep you going, but you’ll lose nothing waiting for the DVD.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

In a year when many so-called comedies have been mean-spirited, it is refreshing to see a comedy that has some genuine heart.  In Crazy, Stupid, Love. Steve Carell stars as Cal Weaver, a family man who is caught in a midlife crisis.  His wife, Emily (Juliane Moore) has cheated on him, an act which puts their longtime marriage in jeopardy.  So he decides to relive the single life, but fails miserably when he attempts to meet women at bars.

So he befriends Jacob (Canadian Ryan Gosling) a ladie’s man who agrees to be his swagger coach.  But Jacob’s habit of one night stands may be over, when he meets Hannah (Emma Stone) a fun-loving young woman who just might be the one.  Cal also begins to question the prospect of picking up women, when his 13-year-old son (who has a crush on the famiy’s 17-year-old babysitter) reminds his dad to fight for the one you love.  In time, Cal realizes that true love and devotion to one’s family isn’t such a crazy or stupid thing after all.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is an uneven film.  The storyline with the teenagers is contrived and unbelievable.  But the adult relationships, namely the romance between Jacob and Hannah, are really funny.  In terms of sexual content, the film is no raunchier than a daytime soap opera.  Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a funny and charming romantic-comedy that anyone from teenagers to mature adults will enjoy.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Love can be a real mix of crazy and stupid along with a lot of good times.  The movie, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a real mix of good and bad moments.  The stuff that works, works really well.  The rest falls flat.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is centred around a middle-aged couple, Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore), and the impending break-up of their nearly 25 year marriage after Emily announces her fling with co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon).  After moving out, the completely deflated Cal starts hanging out at the local singles bar.  Ladie’s man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) notices him at the bar, feels sorry for him and offers to help Cal re-make his image and take back his manhood.

The scenes with Jacob taking Cal to the mall for a makeover and where he shows him his best pick-up moves at the bar are really funny.  Jacob is completely likable even if his morals are questionable.  Ryan Gosling gives a perfect performance as the highly polished character, who is further developed when he meets a bright young law grad, Hannah (Emma Stone) and finds himself falling for her and questioning his womanizing ways.  The scenes between Jacob and Hannah are the high point of this uneven movie.  Gosling and Stone are movie magic together.  The delivery of every sharply written line is perfect.  The chemistry between Steve Carell and Julianne Moore is also nice especially in the moments when they are realizing that they still care for one another.

What doesn’t work are the side stories about their 13-year-old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and his crush on 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), as well as her crush on Cal.  Jessica’s parents involvement is also a distraction in the movie.  The one character I found most annoying was Cal’s hook-up from the bar, an off-the-wall middle school teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei).  The way these extra characters all end up connected in the end just felt contrived and needless.  Had the story remained focused on Cal and Emily, Jacob and Hannah it would have made for a more cohesive and shorter movie.  Two hours felt like a long time to be spending with this group.

Overall, with the many funny moments and the strong performances from the four main leads, Crazy, Stupid, Love. may be worth checking out – even if it’s mainly to see a shirtless Ryan Gosling.  Being a Josh Groban fan I also appreciated his brief cameo as Hannah’s clueless former boyfriend.  As far as romantic-comedies go, this one falls somewhere in the mid-range, but not quite even enough to make it memorable.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Crazy, Stupid, Love begins with Cal’s (Steve Carell) wife Emily (Julienne Moore) telling him she wants a divorce after 25 years of marriage, admitting to an affair with a coworker (Kevin Bacon). As he drowns his sorrows in a bar, playboy Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes pity on him and offers him a makeover and dating tips. After a series of one-night stands beginning with an enthusiastic teacher (Marisa Tomei), Cal is longing for reconciliation with Emily and she shares those feelings, but several complications get in the way. For example, Cal’s 13-year-old son has a crush on his 17-year-old babysitter, who has a crush on Cal. Meanwhile, Jacob is ready to settle down, having fallen for Hannah (Emma Stone), a law graduate on the rebound from a colleague (Josh Groban).

Written by Dan Fogelman and co-directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love is uneven, with some really sweet and witty scenes for the leads (Carell, Moore, Gosling, Stone) somewhat spoiled by awkward moments involving the babysitter and teacher. Cutting them out completely would have been a vast improvement, with the bonus of cutting the running length down from an overlong two hours.

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Consensus: Although Crazy, Stupid, Love. has some genuinely touching moments and is carried by good performances from Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, it is unfortunately weakened by needless sub-plots and obnoxious side characters.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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