Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love

In a summer full of wizards, robots, aliens, and superheroes, Hollywood knows that some people **cough**women**cough** want something a little softer, a little funnier, a little more romantic. Well, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is that movie... more or less. To be more exact it is another of the recent string of RomComs that are focusing more on the comedy than the romance, and this is very much to the film's benefit.

Lets see if I can briefly explain the relationships between the major players here. Cal (Steve Carell: “The Office”) and Emily (Julianne Moore: ”Blindness”) are a longtime married couple. Cal thinks things are fine until Emily reaveals that she has been having an affair with David (Kevin Bacon: “Stir of Echoes”), and wants a divorce. Cal is stunned, but it's not as if he's unloved as, unbeknownst to him, the babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) is in love with him. Unfortunately she's seventeen, and Cal and Emily's son., Robbie (Jonah Bobo: “Zathura”) is in love with her.

While wallowing in his sorrows, Cal meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling: “Blue Valentine”), a true player who takes pity on Cal, and decides to help him become more of a ladies man (or at least more of a man). Jacob is the very picture of confidence and swagger, seemingly able to get any woman he sets his sights on; any woman that is except Hannah (Emma Stone: ”Zombieland”, ”Easy A”), a young law student whose plans revolve around marrying her boyfriend, Richard (singer, Josh Groban).

Does all of that make sense? I hope so, because it actually gets a little more confusing as the film progresses.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a RomCom seemingly made with the knowledge that women are going to drag their men to these things anyway, so lets make them appeal to both genders. In fact so much time is spent in the film focusing on the interaction between Carell's awkward, middle-aged office drone and Gosling's slick, shallow player that this may all actually appeal a little bit more to men than women. Only a little though.

With a great cast and mostly good pacing, there's really only one big criticism I have about this film: The length. It's not so much that the film is about two hours long that is the problem, but that it climaxes (as far as the laughes go at least) a good thirty minutes before it ends. The last quarter of the film focuses on the more traditional feelings and relationships that one would expect from your average RomCom, and while this may appeal greatly to the core audience films like this target, for me this really took a lot of wind out of the picture's sails. This long eplilogue, with its confessions of love, and the moral of the story, drops what was a really good comedy up to that point down to just a, above average romantic comedy.

Not a great film, but as romantic comedies go this one is a little refreshing in that it will be easy for men to watch, and it does not go out of its way to portray Steve Carell's character as the bad guy in the situation, which is nice. It may not have superheroes or wizards, but what “Crazy, Stupid, Love” does have is a strong cast, a solid, emotional story for the stereotypical RomCom fan, and enough big laughs to keep everyone else from rolling their eyes too much.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is in theaters now.