Crazy, Stupid Love is a dramatic comedy that focuses in on the relationships of 3 men and 3 women. The film is not something I would or could recommend. The film has a few positives and a few weaknesses, many times overlapping with one another:
1. The premise of fighting for the one you love is still a powerful idea. The characters moved towards this idea, working uphill the entire time, yet end with a resolve that if something is worth fighting for, you never stop. Although it’s a powerful, even admirable premise, it’s also overly used and cliché in film and literature, but for the purpose here I’m going to include this fight as one of the films positives.
2. Steve Carell, does a great job playing Cal Weaver, a man who has just found out his wife wants a divorce. But not only does she drop that bomb on him, she tells him she’s been unfaithful as well. Steve is a great comedic actor. He plays this sullen, underappreciated, innocent character extremely well. The problem though has nothing to do with his performance, which very good, it has to do with the script. There are obvious moments our mind is telling us, “this is a joke, pretty funny too,” yet it just doesn’t seem mood appropriate to the scene, to actually be a joke. Perhaps this was something they were shooting for, if that’s the case then they succeeded, but for the most part it led to an awkward, uncomfortable feel for the audience.
3. Ryan Gosling, who played Jacob, nailed his role down pat. He plays a womanizer who’s exceptional in the art of picking up women. He feels sorry for Cal and decides he’s going to make Cal’s renovation a personal project for himself. The project goes remarkably better than could have been expected; in fact it almost looked like a complete and utter waste of time at one point. Gosling, I never thought of as an actor that could play a wide range of characters, and perhaps this isn’t a film to point out his acting skills, but while watching Crazy, Stupid Love, his performance stood out as a top-notch effort to me.
4. The major weakness for me is not the clichés, or the awkwardness of mood but in fact was the story itself. What I mean is the length of story. The film has a decent storyline that even includes a couple of twists and surprises. The story had this looming Shakespearean feel to it, where triangles and miscommunication and unforeseen circumstances appear throughout. But the film was too long. The entire story could have been completed in, I’d guesstimate, around 45 minutes to an hour, instead of the 118-minute running time that it has. It’s not even so much the padding that bothered me though, as this occurrence doesn’t typically bother me much. It’s the repetitive “woe is me” moments early and the drawn out reconciliation at the end. Sure by cutting the sections back you may exclude a nice or funny moment, but you’d also be streamlining the finished product and eliminating much of the boredom that weighs the film down, thus increasing the entertainment value for the viewer. Sometimes less can be more.
5. This last point is a positive, a negative as well as an observation/commentary. Emma Stone lights the screen up, she’s, in my opinion, the up and coming actress many have been waiting for, combining a charm and a wit along with her look and of course her voice. The film underused her tremendously. The scenes where she was bantering with her friend about relationships and sex were great. The scenes, albeit only a few, with Gosling were some of the more touching. Anyhow it just appeared they could have noticed as such, and perhaps done a little more with it, with her. This isn’t always possible and I completely understand that, yet I hope at least they attempted to do as such.
My commentary has to do with Stone yet again. I wonder if she has incorporated a Nathaniel Hawthorne or more specifically a Scarlet Letter clause in her contract, as her last two major roles here and in Easy A, have both included major references to the Hawthorne classic. I realize this must have been a coincidence, but she must have had a laugh or two at the unlikelihood of proximal repetition and thought it a good point to mention and conclude this overview.
In summation I can’t say it was the worst film, not anywhere close to the best film. It wasn’t horrible, so if your significant other really wants to see this film, you could certainly do worse. But if you have a choice in the matter I’d hold off until the film hits DVD, unless of course you’re a huge Stone or Gosling fan, in which case you probably already saw the film. If you’re the biggest Carell fan though, I’d certainly hold off, despite his putting in a good performance, this was not his fault, but it’s not the type of film you’d expect him to be in either, especially not one that also stars Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Gosling, Stone and Marisa Tomei.