Like most guys, I don’t particularly like romantic comedies. Wait, I take that back. Like most guys, I say I don’t like romantic comedies. Give me a good one though—one that is actually romantic and not a total sapfest, and one that’s actually funny and doesn’t just inject predictable jokes for the sake of calling itself a “comedy”—and I’ll happily watch.
And if you put Emma Stone in that movie, you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. Sold.
Steve Carrell delivers an expectedly charming performance as the downtrodden everyman Cal, who learns at the outset of the movie that his wife of nearly 25 years, Emily (Julianne Moore), has had an affair and wants a divorce. Out of a home and a relationship for the first time in his adult life, Cal can do little but drown his sorrows in vodka-cranberries at a local lounge. How is Cal ever to get back on his feet and back in love—or at least into bed with someone?
Enter Jacob—Ryan Gossling in a movie-stealing, self-effacing performance—a wheeling, dealing casanova determined to help Cal regain his manhood. And it begins, of course, with a makeover. A new wardrobe and a few observations of Jacob charming the dresses off a string of ladies at the lounge (which apparently doesn’t have any repeat customers, or Jacob surely would have had a drink or ten poured over his head), and Cal is ready to dip his toe back into the dating pool.
As with all romantic comedies involving a cocksure ladies’ man, Jacob is befuddled and charmed by the one woman who sees through his bullshit, the “game-changer” Hannah (Stone).
Predictably, Cal’s return to dating (really, bedding) women while carrying a torch for his ex-wife leads to a few bumps and snags, complicated by the fact that he can’t get a hold of his manhood Miyagi, Jacob, because Jacob and Hannah are off somewhere being hot together.
There are twists and turns aplenty in Crazy, Stupid, Love., not to mention an engaging secondary story line involving Cal’s 13-year-old son being in love with his 17-year-old babysitter, who in turn is in love with Cal. Some plot twists are predictable, others not so much, but what makes Crazy, Sexy, Love. work is the performances of Carrell, Stone, and especially Gosling. You’ll forgive some of the cliches and predictable “surprises,” because you simply have to expect those in a movie like this. Crazy, Stupid, Love. is romantic enough and more than funny enough to get the romantic comedy stamp of approval.