Saturday, July 30, 2011

‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ Not really crazy, but sweet and endearing.

I am a hopeless romantic, I admit it. I like romance movies; I enjoy music that makes you feel and sometimes even makes you cry. I believe in the power of love and the strength of feelings that another person can bring out in you. I believe that we can’t pretend to know if and when it will happen; or if it even will happen; but I know, I believe, that everyone (if they are open to it) has that one person they just connect with, they click and everything seems just right. Cal (Steve Carell) is just that sort of romantic, almost idealistic man. Married to his high school sweetheart, Emily (Julianne Moore), with a nice home and kids, he feels he has the perfect life; that is until Emily announces that she has had an affair and wants a divorce.

‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ Is about a marriage that dissolves, it’s about a man that reinvents himself and it is about another discovering his true self. In reality, all of these sides could have very easily been wrapped up into one character; but smartly, the filmmakers (Glenn Ficarra & John Requa) make it three parts of a whole tale. While the movie does not play for laughs (most of the time) it does bring them bursting forth, both from the very human reality of the situations to some of the more surprising moments I have ever had in a romantic comedy/drama.

The main story focuses on the married couple, Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore); their life seems to be going well, at least in Cal’s eyes, until Emily admits to an affair and now wants a divorce. Cal is shattered, moves out and starts to hang out at the local bar where he noticed by a womanizing ladies man, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who goes home with a different woman every night. Feeling rather sorry for Cal, Jacob takes him under his wing and begins to teach him the secret to his success with woman. Soon, Cal himself is a ladies’ man in one of the more funny transformations sequences in some time.

And then there is Hannah (the always delightful Emma Stone)a beautiful stranger that the womanizing Jacob becomes smitten by, this beautiful woman who does not fall for his cadre of lines and somehow +sees beyond his polished charm.

‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ Is a stellar performance driven film; Carell is flawless and shows the promise of an incredible leading man. Moore is touching and effective as the confused wife who is not sure that she has chosen the right path in life; Stone brings confidence and determination to Hanna as well as a wonderful anchor to some of the madness (that was not really needed). Gosling (who I never really pegged for comedy) is wickedly sharp and confident as Jacob and the scene stealing Jonah Bob as Cal and Emily’s 13 year old son Robbie, is a true star in the making. Marisa Tomei gives an inspired performance as one of Cal’s one night stands.

While towards the end it does get a bit sappy and somewhat coincidental, it somehow all works, while it does not work for everyone, it does work for some and lessons are learned. Love finds us one way or another; in the places you least likely think and at the times you would never expect. Love is truly crazy and often very stupid, but in the end, it is a wonderful feeling that we only get one shot at. This is a 3 star effort on the enduring strength of love and the never ending quest to find that ‘one’.

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