Friday, January 20, 2012

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
2011. Rated PG-13, 118 minutes.
Steve Carell
Julianne Moore
Ryan Gosling
Emma Stone
Analeigh Tipton
Jonah Bobo
Marisa Tomei
John Carroll Lynch
Kevin Bacon
Liza Lapira
Josh Groban

Cal’s (Carell) life is sent spiraling out of control practically the moment we met him. Emily (Moore), his wife of 25 years abruptly informs him over dinner that she wants a divorce. With that, he packs up, moves into an apartment and tries to get on with his life. By get on, I mean spend nights at the local bar griping about his failed marriage. While there, he meets Jacob (Gosling), the local ladies man. Jacob takes pity on our hero and wants to help out by imparting his carnal knowledge upon Cal. Meanwhile, Cal’s 13 year old son Robbie (Bobo) is having his own love problems. Robbie is in love with Jessica (Tipton), his 17 year old baby-sitter. Aside from the obvious age difference there is another issue. Unbeknownst to either guy, Jessica has a crush on Cal. Finally, there’s Hannah (Stone) who’s studying for the bar exam. She’s in a serious relationship with Richard (Groban), but appears to be settling, much to the chagrin of her pal Liz (Lapira). A bunch of people pursuing love, or sex, while simultaneously wondering if it’s even worth the effort ensues.

Our plot moves along nicely, but in a fairly straight forward manner, for most of its runtime. However, things pick up towards the end with a fabulous twist. It’s the type of thing you don’t see coming, at least I didn’t, but once it happens you’ll wonder how you didn’t. Best of all, it absolutely works. It’s not some M. Night Shamalamadingdong idiotic turn of events flying in from very deep left field. The movie doesn’t end with this occurrence, either. Instead, it crystallizes things for the people involved.

The common theme running through Crazy, Stupid, Love is people romanticizing the person they desire so much as to deify them. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s so painful for the jilted parties. However, this is no mopey affair. Like most of us, these people do ridiculous things while dealing with their emotions. It’s a ridiculousness we can relate to. We’ve been there. Maybe, we’re there now. At the very least, we’ve known a few people who are, or have been there. We laugh because we see our own silliness in the people on the screen.

At the end of the day, CSL is a romantic comedy. It actually does go through many of the machinations of other rom-coms. However, the numbers aren’t quite as visible here as they are in many of it’s kind. It’s well crafted, all the way around. We get wonderful performances across the board. The scene-stealers here are Bobo as Robbie and Marisa Tomei in a very interesting and hilarious role. It also helps that the ending is a bit ambiguous. When the credits roll nothing has definitively happened to say for sure whether it’s a happy ending or not. We can guess either way we like. Still, we cannot say for certain how things will turn out, much like our own lives.

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