Proof Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Release Date
July 29, 2011
Director
Glenn Ficarra
John Requa
Screenplay
Dan Fogelman
Distributed By
Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget
$50 million
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language
118 minutes

Crazy, Stupid, Love
09fourhalf-stars

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.”
–Albert Einstein

It would be easy to write Crazy, Stupid, Love. off as just another typical romantic comedy, ranging the same romantic issues with the same emotional level brought on by every other rom-con being released these days. And from the outside, that’s exactly what this film looks like (minus the amazing ensemble cast). What you’d miss, however, is one of the best romantic comedies of all-time (or films in general for that matter), becoming so much more than just a romantic comedy and bordering the line of award-worthy drama-edy.

There is a richness to Crazy, Stupid, Love. There are no wasted performances in the film. I look at any film released these days (especially comedies) and notice the amount of “filler” characters present, adding nothing to the film. Crazy, Stupid, Love. finds an enriching story for all of its cast of characters, leaving no performance wasted and allowing fulfilling character arcs and developments for almost everyone involved. There are no coincidences in the film. Every bit carries on somewhere else in the film, causing wonderful surprises and epiphanies; the proof of inspired writing from Dan Fogelman, known for his work with Disney (Cars, Bolt, Tangled).

Ryan Gosling has proven himself one of the best actors currently working in Hollywood. Even before 2011, I was enjoying his work, but with 2011 came Drive, The Ides of March, and of course, Crazy, Stupid, Love. Each of these films proved something different for Gosling and his rising name. What Crazy, Stupid, Love. proved was that Gosling, playing single man Jacob Palmer, could be funny and that he could carry almost an entire film with his wit and bravado. We’ve definitely seen this suave, ladies’ man character before, teaching the ways of picking up chicks. But we’ve never seen this role performed with such poise and grace as it is with Ryan Gosling, who is easy to believe as this character. Very few actors in Hollywood could have pulled off this role with such ease and with that performance brought this film a sophistication that no other romantic comedy possesses.

I have never been a huge fan of Steve Carell’s until now. His supporting performances are always worth a laugh, in films like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, but his recent run as leading man in Dan In Real Life and Date Night were less than truly enjoyable. However, in Crazy, Stupid, Love. as Cal Weaver, the soon-to-be-divorcee, Steve Carrell fits his role without being distracting or overzealous. Jacob (Gosling) vows to teach Cal his ways and turn him into a ladies’ man, so that his wife (Julianna Moore) will “rue the day”. Carell hits his moments, plays to his strengths, and garners my affection for his character. Without him, this film would not be the same and that cannot be said for most of his prior performances.

The female cast is important for this film, as well. We must fall in love with them to truly get what the film wants to give. Julianna Moore, as Emily Weaver, must be hated for cheating, but there is always a kindness in her eyes, telling us that she is coming from a commendable place. Emma Stone, as Hannah, takes a while to delve into her part, but comes out strong with her adorable nature with a touch of maturity that affects most of the main characters. Even Analeigh Tipton, a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, delivers a strong performance as babysitter Jessica Riley, offering some light moments as the centerpiece for Robbie, Cal and Emily’s son (Jonah Bobo) and his obsession.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. lifts most of its ensemble cast to a level they had yet to reach in their careers. Without this film, Gosling’s year would have still been commendable but not as well-rounded, bringing about a perfect year for him. Steve Carell is taken seriously, showing a deeper, emotional side behind his goofy exterior. And Emma Stone takes her first step (with The Help offering a huge step) away from her own goofy-natured comedies (Easy A, House Bunny, Superbad). There is so much heart in this film, bringing so many tears and laughter, with such a great mix of both to allow a truly euphoric experience of love and the pains that come along. Round that out with the perfect soundtrack and there is no way of counting how many times you will view this film.

 

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