First Night Flicks: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Starring: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Written by: Dan Fogelman
Rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language 

Love, in cinema, is usually portrayed in simplistic terms. People in the movies fall in love at first sight, or they realize that the person they’ve been arguing with for three quarters of the film is, in fact the person they cannot live without. Love, in real life, is a lot more complicated than that. How refreshing, then, to find a film that not only seems to understand the complexities of love, and marriage, but tries, in all earnestness, to portray those complexities honestly. 

The film follows several couples as they embark on different stages of a relationship. Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore) have been married almost 30 years and have hit a wall in terms of communication and affection. Jacob (Gosling) is a lady killer looking for his next conquest until he meets and gets to know Hannah (Stone), who could change everything. Cal’s son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with his babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who harbors her own unrequited crush on Cal. 

Of all the relationships in the film, the one that most intrigued me was Cal and Emily. It’s clear that they love each other, but it’s also painfully clear that these are two adults in pain who have no idea what to do when their marriage is in crisis. They act out. They try to make things right and fail miserably. They carelessly say extremely hurtful things to one another. They hurt each other in a reactionary manner since they can’t see how to repair the damage they keep causing in their marriage. 

Very little of the film is played for laughs, so the comedy feels organic – born of real people honestly behaving as they would in these situations. There is, of course one major sequence that plays like something out of a farce with the wrong people all showing up at the wrong time with the wrong idea to say all the wrong things. It didn’t mar my enjoyment of the film, but it did feel slightly out of place. 

If you’re in the mood for a good mature (not raunchy) adult comedy, this is the summer movie you’ve been waiting for. 

Crazy, Stupid, Love features the requisite scene of the lady killer being asked about his big, seductive move. The answer was charming, funny, surprising and immediately won over about half of the audience with whom I watched the film.

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Trisha Lynn
    on 2011-07-29 at 22:19

    Now I’m curious as to exactly how this compares to Love Actually or Valentine’s Day (which I liked at first, and then had problems with).

    • Written by Lyssa Spero
      on 2011-07-30 at 21:19

      I wouldn’t compare it to either of those films, and this entire film basically centers on one family, not a large group of people who are peripherally connected.

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