Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love (Rhoades)

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” Is Both Those Things
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I don’t mean to quibble about semantics, but one must examine the title of the new romantic comedy titled “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Crazy implies being off track due to mental impairment. Stupid implies misguided by lack of knowledge.

Can love be both of these?

Apparently so, according to the movie co-directed by Glen Ficarra and his writing partner John Requa (scribes of “Cats and Dogs,” “Bad Santa”). Their previous directing gig was “I love You Phillip Morris.”

Closer examination of the title reveals the use of commas, suggesting that crazy and stupid are not modifiers, but rather are conditions just like love. Thus the idea that all three mental states exist in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

True enough.

We find Cal (Steve Carell) living the good life – nice home, wife, kids – when things get crazy and stupid. He learns that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has fallen out of love. She’s been cheating on him with a coworker (Kevin Bacon). Ouch.

Suddenly single, Cal is crying in his beer at a bar when ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes pity and offers to teach him how to pick up girls. The techniques are pretty much like you’d find in all those “How to Pick up Girls” guidebooks you used to see advertised in the back of men’s magazines (not that I ever read them myself). But these how-to tips work well enough that Cal scores with a teacher (Marissa Tomei) and others.

But does this bring happiness? You know the answer to that.

As for Jacob, he must learn the lessons of love himself. When his slick come-ons are rejected by nice-chick Hannah (Emma Stone), he is forced to come to terms with his vapid single life.
Of course, our guy Cal wants his wife back and engages in a series of awkward efforts to woo her back. In the end, the movie insists its characters return to the universe’s natural state – monogamy, according to Ficarra and Requa.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is currently wooing audiences at the Tropic Cinema. And given the cast, you can expect to encounter all three emotions – crazy, stupid, and love.

Having just come off his successful TV comedy “The Office,” Steve Carrel is ready to make more funny movies. Perhaps he will grow beyond 40-year-old virgin and inept-married-man roles. But I suppose he knows we laugh at human failures, not successes.

Julienne Moore is on a high after her bisexual fling in popular “The Kids Are All Right.” Ryan Gosling has transitioned from Mickey Mouse Club regular to oddball actor (“Lars and the Real Girl,” “Blue Valentine”) to a dreamboat leading man with six-pack abs. Emma Stone (“Easy A,” “The Help”) is the current Hollywood It Girl, her career on the fast track. Marissa Tomei (“My Cousin Vinny,” “The Wrestler”) as always has great comic timing. And Kevin Bacon (“Footloose” to “X-Men: First Class”) is a self-proclaimed working actor, ready to fill in wherever needed.

Sure, maybe the plot is a little threadbare, but “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is worth seeing for its ensemble of actors. I liked it, but just call me crazy. Or stupid. Or in love with the talented cast.
[from Solares Hill]

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