Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Crazy Stupid Love

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

There are some ways to change the wave of something that is a medium. That's how the term 'game changer' is described. For a movie that would make efforts to go against the norms of a rom-com using that term is fair enough because they're going for something different. For Crazy Stupid Love, it's not really a rom-com where the characters would find their soul mate but more of a dramedy trying to get back together. And that's all it is.

Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are the Cal and Emily Weaver, who have been married for 25 years with two kids. Emily wants a divorce because she had been cheating on him with a work colleague (Kevin Bacon) leaving Cal devastated. So he starts drinking and moaning about the end of the marriage in a crowded bar free for anyone who wants to listen. The only person that is paying attention is Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) a successful lothario and when Jacob explains to Cal why Emily dumped him (which sorta felt irrational) he decides to change him into a better man by being Jacob. This includes Cal hooking up with Kate Taggety (Marisa Tomei) who apparently is his son Robbie's 8th grade teacher. Meanwhile Cal's other daughter Hannah (Emma Stone) is an up and coming lawyer who Jacob become attracted while Robbie has a crush on his babysitter who has a crush on Cal.

Crazy Stupid Love has that platinum cast full of actors working on their A game. Steve Carell has some moments where you want to hug him and then there are some moments where you felt off about him. Carell is well known for playing narrow-intelligent people in many comedies such as Anchorman and Dinner For Schmucks, but whenever there's a drama he grabs a performance that's at his best. And I will give him full marks for that in here. But the standout for this film is Ryan Gosling who is making pretty good decisions as an actor by acting out in indie films such as Lars and the Real Girl and Blue Valentine before appearing in this. In here, Gosling is a charismatic person who is given great dialogue playing a man, men are always envious of and at the same time felt he's a total douche. There are some great banter between Carell and Gosling and the entire film is charming at its right.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it tries way too hard to be that anti-rom-com. Remember (500) Days of Summer. It was an anti-rom-com that was a bittersweet comedy with charming people and doesn't follow the set of rules most rom coms are placed. For Crazy Stupid Love it shouldn't be placed in that category because it is more of a dramedy filled with too many unlikeable characters and too many moments of awkwardness that felt unbearable. This is too bitter.

Most of the characters felt weak because of that. For Julianne Moore, unless there's a noble reason why she's cheating on him in the first place, we can't identify and care for her from the beginning. For Emma Stone, it's the same for her except for the fact that she's heartless. I got to say that Marisa Tomei really felt vapid once her character becomes more of an archtype. These are the characters we should not care about because it's doesn't reflect anything realistic out of a marriage or out of love. The storyline involving Robbie's wooing for Jessica the babysitter was close to being creepy but the final minutes of the film felt really sentimental that go off the rails with the cliches on having a soulmate in the most schmaltzy way.

If you didn't realize as you walk in and out of the movie, you see that Crazy Stupid Love is a schizophrenic imitation of The Graduate (can you see some similarities between the films' posters?). The endings are on the same wavelengths to try to get the two characters you'll know they will be together to come and forgive except that The Graduate was actually that endearing.

For me this is a disappointment of a movie that tries to avoid the conundrums of the rom-coms placed in Hollywood today but it goes into a conundrum of itself. Crazy Stupid Love is just a movie about coming together with the entire framework placed, so empty insight (I might say it doesn't have the balls to do anything). This should have been a movie that is about finding out why a relationship is in a gridlock halfway of the film starting with that breakup and then breaking even at the end. The truth is, that movie would never make any sense as it would never achieve anything profound which is another problem the film has faced. And it's also disappointing when the film is directed by the two guys who wrote Bad Santa and also directed I Love You Phillip Morris. At least I have some laughs and Ryan Gosling saved this movie and I have to admit. This is the first time I actually seen him in a movie.

It's crazy, it's stupid but at least it has love.

C+ (5.4)

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