Movie Review: “Crazy, Stupid, Love” Is neither Crazy nor Stupid

I eagerly awaited the screening of Crazy, Stupid, Love.  I loved the trailer, and I loved the actors that are featured in it.  It is Ryan Gosling’s first foray into comedy, and paired with one of the best comedic actors right now, Steve Carrell, I expected it to be a good movie with plenty of laughs.   The movie that I saw was actually more complex than the one I was expecting, and that is a good thing.

The general story of the Crazy, Stupid, Love is Emily (Julianne Moore) wants a divorce from Cal (Steve Carrell) after 25 years together.  This happens out of the blue, and Emily confesses that she slept with a coworker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon).  Cal really does not know what to do with himself, and he ends up going to a trendy, hip bar where he observes the prowess of ladies man, Jacob (Ryan Gosling).  Cal eventually is taken under Jacob’s wing, and Cal is shown how to dress, style his hair, and approach the ladies.  Jacob notices Hannah (Emma Stone) at the bar one evening and tries to hit on her.  Hannah is immune to Jacob’s tricks and turns him down, but she sticks in Jacob’s mind until Hannah seeks him out another night.  After learning enough from Jacob, Cal picks up a woman at the bar named Kate (Marisa Tomei) and has his first one night stand with her.  This, of course, comes back to haunt Cal.

There is another love story in the film that involves Cal and Emily’s babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).  Jessica kind of has a thing for Cal, but Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) has a really bad crush on her.   Robbie goes to great lengths to show Jessica how much he loves her, even though Jessica is embarrassed and annoyed by the gestures.

I am not going to go into any more detail about what happens in this film.  The trailer does not allude to anything more happening, but suffice it to say that there is more to the story than you think.  This additional layer of the film is honestly what makes it such a great film.  You do not see it coming.  Frankly, if you hear or read a review that gives away more of the film, that reviewer is spoiling it and is doing a disservice to the moviegoer.  If I had known about it, I do not think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did.

There are plenty of laughs in this comedy.  I found myself hysterically laughing in several parts.  Ryan Gosling does great as Jacob.  He is not over the top in his character, which could have happened and I see how some actors might have done that.  While portrayed as a ladies man, the layers are peeled back later in the film to show what kind of man he really is.  Emma Stone is great as always.  I seriously think she can do no wrong as an actress.  She just seems so real compared to other actresses in her age range right now.  She can do comedy really well and portray seriousness and drama needed for her character as well.  I also really enjoyed Jonah Bobo as Robbie.  He had a large role in this film, and he came across as an awkward, love-torn teenager well.  I also had no idea that Josh Groban was in the film.  He plays Emma Stone’s lame lawyer boyfriend.

There are some weird, uncomfortable scenes and scenarios where I thought maybe a line was crossed.  Most had to do with Jessica’s crush on Cal, and Robbie’s crush on Jessica.  With the age differences, it can be a hard thing to portray, even if it is innocently done.  No, I am not a stodgy, fifty year old movie reviewer.

I would also have to commend the film on its choice of music.  It has a lot of indie music bands (Thievery Corporation, Goldfrapp, Say Hi, and more) whose songs go really well with what is happening on screen.

Even though I was really excited to see Crazy, Stupid, Love, I was not left disappointed.  The film turned out to be much more than your average comedy and much more than I expected given what was seen in the trailer and TV spots.  It is not a lame comedy or one where the funniest bits are in the trailer.  It has heart.  The story and the whole cast made this a film that will be an unexpected treat to those who see Crazy, Stupid, Love.

I give Crazy, Stupid, Love 4 “word of the day: cuckold” out of 5.

by Sarah Ksiazek

About Sarah Ksiazek

Sarah is a Zookeeper extraordinaire who writes, edits, and is the resident trailer addict for Lost in Reviews. Do not underestimate her snobbery when it comes to trailers. She also owns/runs The Host Movie News which is a fan site for The Host movie adaptation.

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