Today: February 28, 2024

Crazy, Stupid, Love

A beautiful man is one thing. A beautiful man who is able to not take himself seriously is something else. A beautiful man who is Ryan Gosling is not an obvious source of humour, but Crazy Stupid Love pulls it off valiantly.

A beautiful man is one thing. A beautiful man who is able to
not take himself seriously is something else. A beautiful man who is
Ryan Gosling is not an obvious source
of humour, but Crazy Stupid Love pulls it off valiantly. Gosling is one of few
men where people laugh at his appearance not because of an unfavourably
birthmark or buck teeth, but because he is, as a matter of scientific fact,
flawless. And how do you cope with the comparison of mortals to this man? It’s
either going to be tears or laughter, and there’s not much money in misery.

Gosling’s manwhore Jacob is the lesser cliché of a front
line of neurotic characters. There’s the loser husband, dumped and wearing an
ill-fitting suit (Carell,) the
insecure mildly unhinged wife (Moore)
and the uptight young career woman who can’t have fun (Stone). All tied together with a small child that runs around
looking cute and saying all the right things.

After an unintentionally brutal break up, Carell’s Cal falls
into a routine downward spiral until he meets Jacob (cue many an excuse for
slow pans up of body and montages of leaving clubs with various exotic women.)

An intentionally brutal reality check later and Cal is a
self-proclaimed new man, storming the bedrooms of young ladies in a bid to get
over his failed marriage. Love apparently conquers all however as loneliness
and a sense of dissatisfaction soon kicks in. This is further illustrated when
Jacob loses his cheap charms when he falls head over for Stone’s Hannah and
must turn to his new protégé for some pointers on entering into an actual
relationship.

Directors Ficarra
and Requa don’t put the sole focus
on humour; any laughs exercised are on well trodden ground and mostly shown in
the trailer. Crazy Stupid Love does achieve some genuinely affectionate
moments, mostly through the subtle chemistry between Carell and Moore as they tentatively
interact in the throws of a break up. Carell combines some of the comic timing
that has got him thus far with some of the sincerity we saw best in Little Miss
Sunshine to present a genuinely likable character, and Moore even manages to
provoke sympathy as the break up instigator Emily.

Plotlines do swell at times, and the ending is dragged well
beyond the point where we know what the outcome is going to be. For the most
part though the cast bring new depth to a series of characters that we’ve seen
in some form before. There’s a pleasant “Oh I really should have seen that
coming but I didn’t!” moment, and even the child star isn’t completely
punchable. There’s calamity and a restrained tenderness that doesn’t bring bile
to the back of your throat which, for a commercial film isn’t bad. Expertly
cast, thoughtful and quite amusing, if they’d only shaved twenty minutes off
you would have the perfect romantic film. As long as those twenty minutes did
not include Gosling’s face.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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