Written by: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch
The connection formed by love people share with each other serves as one of the strongest emotions we have as humans. It causes us to do some drastic things in order to prove and also keep it. In Crazy, Stupid, Love we get to see this play out in three stages, with each of them contributing to a truly funny and delightful story.
Within a real relationship rut, Cal Weaver (Steve Carrell) learns that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has cheated on him and wants a divorce. After moving out, he seeks to find a way to get back into the dating game and receives the help of the womanizing Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Cal learns the importance of confidence, what it takes to impress women, and what relationships he truly values.
Relationships like the one Cal and Emily have is one seen plenty in movies, as it’s a married couple who have been together for a long time and have just run out of juice. This leaves Cal in a place where he needs to start over in trying to pick up women after not having to for a few decades at this point. At the time of the writing of this review, I have only been married three years and I cannot fathom what it would be like to enter this completely different dating world, so I cannot imagine how difficult this experience may be for someone like Cal. It then makes his conversations with Jacob all the more comedic because of the differences they have in gaining the affection of women. Jacob knows his way around and can use his words to land the attraction of nearly any woman he attempts to swoon. It certainly helps that the character is played by heartthrob Ryan Gosling. However, don’t let that fool you to think this character relies on his looks. In this role, Gosling utilizes his brilliant comedic timing to add some fun to the character of Jacob. He has several iconic looks, including the snooty one where he wears his sunglasses. Their rapport throughout the film develops into a lovely bromance and delivers some of the film’s best comedic moments.
Both of these men have their own issues with love along with Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who has a hopeless crush on an older teenager. Each of them pout in their own way but their experience of love all happen in a different part of the cycle. Robbie’s in the young and innocent love, Jacob has entered the early fire and affection, and Cal reached the dwindling phase of monotony. Looking at these three journeys gives a comprehensive view of the experience of feeling this emotion. Each has its moments and it certainly gets ridiculous.
The most surprising aspect of Crazy, Stupid, Love appears in the connectivity of all the relationships examined throughout the story. All of it culminates in a truly hilarious scene involving all of the characters. It may be a moment where some are put off by the silliness, but I certainly enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all. The moment matches the level of comedy the rest of the film set up, which makes it ultimately feel earned.
Along with Carrell and Gosling lighting up the screen with their chemistry, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone certainly hold their own as they represent the love interests for the two men. While the film opens with Moore’s character, Emily, admitting to infidelity, it all stems from them reaching a stagnant point in their relationship. It probably happens in every single partnership at some point where monotony takes over and the same routines bore you as much as going to work. I’m certainly not excusing the infidelity, but like in many cases, this occurred because of something Cal did not bring to the relationship anymore that Emily yearned for. Similarly with Hannah, she deals with a stagnant relationship with her current boyfriend, which eventually leads to her meeting Jacob and spurring on romance they have together. In her case, it had more to do with the lack of advancement in the relationship more so than the monotony of it all. One part that feels incredibly questionable in the film is the romantic feelings Robbie has towards his 17-year-old neighbor. The eighth-grader has a seemingly normal crush on an older teen, but the way the film handles their storyline certainly has not aged well, but it honestly would not have been good in any era considering the content explored.
All in all, Crazy, Stupid, Love has a plethora of tremendous comedic sequences and each of these actors shines with the material they are given. Every relationship has its breaking point where the rubber meets the road and they all have satisfactory conclusions. Wild things occur and major revelations occur, but that’s simply what happens when humans experience love in the strange way it makes us act.