The movie juggles many different story lines and characters, but mainly revolves around Cal (Steve Carell), a newly divorced man who was married for 25-years and had only ever had sex with his now ex-wife Emily (Julianne Moore), his high-school sweetheart. Meanwhile, Cal and Emily’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with the babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who is secretly in love with Cal; I know, I know, but stay with me. After Emily reveals to Cal that she had an affair with a co-worker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), Cal ends up in a bar to drink his sorrow away. This is where Jacob (Ryan Gosling) comes in. The previous night Jacob struck out with Hannah (Emma Stone) and now has decided to take Cal under his wing and teach him the way of the lady’s man.
This is a set-up that in lesser hands would be a recipe for disaster but thanks to a tightly written script from Disney-Pixar scriber Dan Fogelman, the story actually works and its maturity and wit shines through. The direction by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa takes all of the good things about the story and enhances them by making the characters believable and keeping them from going over-the-top, which makes the whole film feel genuine and gives these characters real pull and likability. Simply put, it’s nice to see a romantic-comedy that is actually quite funny. Carell gives a great perform here, and plays the character with restraint when he has to but knows when to let lose, with all the nuance that comes with Carell’s comedy background. Gosling is very charismatic in the role of the absolute stud, and displays some very impressive comedic chops to his already dynamite acting ability. Probably the most interesting and funny characters in the film are Kate (Marisa Tomei) and Hannah (Emma Stone). Stone in particular plays the one that got away from Gosling and injects humor and smarts into every scene she is in. All of the performances in the film make for an ensemble that’s hard to beat within the genre. All of this culminates in an ending that is sure to surprise and will definitely have you talking all the way out of the cinema.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is not without flaws though. It’s not abundantly clear why Gosling’s character has decided to help Carell’s character and much of the story with Robbie and the babysitter Jessica seems to distract from the main storyline a little more than is necessary. These are minor quarrels within the story and are necessary evils for the film to pay-off in the end, but to call the film a prefect rom-com is an inaccuracy, but what romantic-comedy is?
All in all, Crazy, Stupid, Love despite minor is one of the best romantic-comedies of the year, and will hopefully lead to more films using love for more mature and funny storytelling and less for crazy and stupid films.