PG Cooper: Crazy Stupid Love Review

Posted: December 21, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: July 29th, 2011

Running time: 118 minutes

Written by: Dan Fogelman

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon

Crazy Stupid Love tells multiple stories that intertwine at various points through the course of the film. The first is the divorce of Cal and Emily (Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, respectively). The second is how ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) begins to fall for Hannah (Emma Stone). The third is how Cal and Emily’s babysitter (Analeigh Tipton) is in love with Cal. The fourth is how Cal and Emily’s thirteen year old son (Jonah Bobo) is in love with the babysitter.  The fifth is about a woman who Cal has a one night stand with named Kate (Marisa Tomei). The sixth is about Hannah growing tired of a boyfriend. The seventh is about David (Kevin Bacon) trying to win over Emily. And finally, the eighth is about Jacob trying to teach Cal how to pick up women.

As you can probably guess from my plot description, a big problem here is that there is way too much subplots going on. In the case of Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei (two actors I really like), there stories aren’t very well developed, nor are their characters. I found Kevin Bacon’s subplot particularly awkward because it seems the film wants him to be a villain, but he’s actually a pretty nice guy. He’s not some creepy weirdo moving in on Emily, but rather a funny and charming guy. I can see why Cal would hate him, but there’s not enough reason for the audience to.

The subplots I had the biggest problem with were the ones revolving around the babysitter. The story that had her being in love with Cal felt tacked on and really unnecessary. It doesn’t have any real conclusion and also leads to some pretty uncomfortable moments. Speaking of uncomfortable moments, the story about the 13 year old infatuated with the 17 year old was full of awkward unpleasantness. So in an early scene, the boy tells his sitter he’s in love with her (in a very creepy way I may add) and she tells him to drop it. However the boy continues throughout the film, despite her pleading she’s uncomfortable and repeatedly asking him to stop. What’s worse is the film actually encourages this behavior under the excuse that he’s doing it because their soul mates and you don’t give up on your soul mate. I may have been able to buy in to a message about not giving up on love, but it’s clear the girl wants nothing to do with this boy so it makes the relationship feel creepy and not charming. Oh, and the resolution to this subplot was one of the most unintentionally creepy and stupid things I’ve seen in a film in recent memory.

It’s also important to mention that all these stories collide in a pivotal moment in the film. To say this moment felt contrived would be a massive under statement. It’s a really annoying and unfunny scene and arguably the film’s low point. But with all that said, a few of these stories actually work quite well. Cal and Emily’s relationship was interesting to watch, even if it felt a little bit melodramatic at times. I also really enjoyed watching Cal and Jacob bond and become friends. Ultimately it was probably the story between Jacob and Hannah that I found the most enjoyable. It’s nothing new, but it was fun to watch these two fall in love. Ultimately, I wish the film had devoted it’s time to these stories because these were the interesting ones.

In spite of my problems with some of the subplots, I found all of them watchable based on the strengths of the actors. Ryan Gosling is the clear stand out here. Gosling has had a great year with grade A performances in films like Drive and The Ides of March. While his work here pales in comparison to those greats, he does a very good job at playing the charismatic ladies man Jacob. For one, he’s really funny and the majority of laughs I got were from him. But I think his biggest strength is making Jacob so likable. A character who spends a majority of his time picking up women, to the point that he has it down to a science, could have been a real unlikable prick. But Gosling is so charming in the role that you do really like him. Steve Carell is also very good as the quiet and slightly pathetic Cal, who becomes reinvigorated by Jacob. Overall, I like the whole cast and acting wise, there aren’t any weak links.

So on the whole, how does Crazy Stupid Love hold up? Well I enjoyed it for the most part. It has a good cast, a strong amount of laughs, and on the whole it’s pretty entertaining. Does it work as compelling human drama? No, not at all. But as shallow entertainment devoid of substance but rich in character and laughs, it works just fine.

Rating: C+

 

Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review PG. Overall, the film is too conventional for my liking. It needed to be sharper, wittier, and funnier. But for average summer fare, it’s okay. It’s far from perfect and runs on the long side, but rom-com and chick flick lovers will likely be satisfied.

  2. brikhaus says:

    I saw this a ways back. It was OK, but nothing great. I agree completely with your comments. Nice review.

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