There is an interesting trend in romantic comedies. All too often, it
seems, you don’t really like the main characters enough to become really
invested in whether or not they find true happiness.
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
is a film that bucks this
trend. There are six main romantic players here – and quite a few
satellites in their worlds – and almost all of them are likable, good
people. Even the people you really shouldn’t like – the sleazy bar
lothario, the cheating wife, the guy who seduced the married woman, the
overwrought schoolteacher whose history with lying men has pushed her a bit
over the edge, the high school slut, the boring lawyer who doesn’t realize
he is dating way out of his weight class – are all somehow mostly human and
fascinating in their foibles.
This overriding sense
of pleasantness does wonders for Crazy, Stupid, Love. It’s not the
world’s most original film, but it is a very likeable one. By the time the
climax comes and there are just a few too many wild plot coincidences to
totally buy into the movie, you are already sold. You like these people –
all of these people – and you hope for them all to get a happy ending.
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
is an old-fashioned ensemble romance, essentially honing in on three
relationships of varying length and intensity, but also following quite a
few others who are satellites or potential alternate matches to the main
set-up is pretty simple. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are Cal and Emily,
married former college sweethearts who have grown bored in their lives. One
night in the latest of a numbing progression of nearly silent dinners, Emily
tells Cal she wants a divorce.
turns out that Emily has had an affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon) – but
he was a symptom, not a cause of the break-up.
is wrecked by the betrayal; all the while he doesn’t even notice that his
seventeen-year-old baby-sitter (Analeigh Tipton) has a huge crush on him.
Nor does she acknowledge that his twelve-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) has a
huge crush on her.
starts hanging out at a local singles bar, telling his tale of woe to anyone
who will listen to him – which is not many people. One person who does,
though is Jacob (Ryan Gosling), the local lothario, who takes pity on the
older sad sack and decides to teach the guy how to meet women.
However, Jacob has met a young law student (Emma Stone) who may just
convince him to give up his free-loving ways, if only she breaks up with her
stick-in-the-mud lawyer boyfriend (singer Josh Groban).
you can see, it is a complicated plot, weaving these characters and more in
and out of each others’ lives and eventually bringing them together in
surprising (if occasionally slightly too convenient) ways.
screenplay by Dan Fogelman (you don’t often find a non-animated film that
has one screenwriter and two directors) is smart and funny, full of clever
dialogue and some genuine pathos (okay, occasionally too much genuine
Despite the occasional huffing and puffing that the film does to pull
together its many plot strands and one or two plot missteps (a gift the teen
babysitter gives to the little boy, though a small point, feels very
ill-advised), for the most part we are rooting for these characters and that
pulls us through the contrivances.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: July 29, 2011.