There was never a doubt in my mind that Crazy, Stupid, Love would be good. Its title is a little too Julia-Roberts-travels-the-world for me, but Ryan Gosling picks his projects carefully, and when you throw Emma Stone in there, it’s a recipe for a winning film.
The trailer does an excellent job of selling both the concept and the humor of the film without laying everything it has to offer out there. Basically, the movie is better than the trailer, and the trailer was already very good:
The film interweaves three love stories: Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore, the divorcing couple that has been together forever; Gosling and Stone, the womanizer and the young lawyer who calls him on his bullshit; and the crush the thirteen-year-old son of Carrell and Moore has on his seventeen-year-old babysitter (who also has an inappropriate thing for Carrell). Each story will find a way to touch your heart–even the boy and his babysitter–but it is the battle Carrell’s character has with himself and for his wife that the film clearly wants you to focus on.
Carrell and Moore do weeping and pitiful so well that it is impossible not to care about their characters, even though Moore’s Emily cheated on her husband and Carrell’s Cal slides into sleazy oblivion. They both have to grow in their year of separation and determine they want the same thing that they did when they were fifteen. They sell it with tears and voice cracks that don’t feel forced.
Carrell also pulls out some of his trademark awkward humor, but it fades in comparison to Stone and Gosling’s fast wit. That’s the one flaw with Crazy, Stupid, Love. It focuses too much on its older couple and not nearly enough of the gem of chemistry and story going on between Stone and Gosling. The scene where Gosling’s Jacob is showing Stone’s Hannah his big Dirty Dancing move in his bachelor pad is by far the best in the whole movie. Yet that love story gets the cliff notes treatment.
It is a beautiful and romanticized movie that will leave you feeling uplifting in every area, but Crazy, Stupid, Love would have done well to tell its second story more equally with its first. That said, the movie is smart and brilliantly does not give away its twist. It is so natural that it genuinely surprises you. Its emotion is real and its humor will have you rolling in your seat.
As for Stone, Gosling, and newcomer Analeigh Tipton–they have incredibly promising careers in front of them. Their facial expressions alone were enough to sell this movie.