Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have the perfect life together living the American dream... until Emily asks for a divorce. Now Cal, Mr Husband, has to navigate the single scene with a little help from his professional bachelor friend Jacob

MPAA Rating:
118 Minutes
Comedy, Drama, Romance

Northwest Military's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on July 27th, 2011

Is it possible that romantic comedies have the absolute worst track record of any genre in film? I feel like it didn't use to be this way. I feel like there was a turning point at some stage in the game where a rule was decided that rom-coms need only aim directly at the lowest common denominator. As if by magic, suddenly these films were required to rise to scatological heights of the most disgusting comedies, while favoring the kind of saccharine sentimentality that would be enough to turn one's stomach anyway.

It may be for this, among other reasons, that I was so bowled over by Crazy, Stupid, Love. Here is a romantic comedy that seems to understand just what the words "romance" and "comedy" actually mean. That it hits both genres while depicting an actually heartfelt story is some kind of miracle.

The film opens as a married couple, Cal and Emily, sits in silence at a restaurant. Cal (Steve Carrell) asks Emily (Julianne Moore) what she's thinking about getting, and Emily blurts out that she wants a divorce. Crazy, Stupid, Love. follows Cal as he uneasily reenters the dating world after having been with his wife since they were teenagers. After floundering at a local bar, Cal is noticed by Jacob (Ryan Gosling), an immaculate ladies' man who takes pity on Cal and decides to show him the ropes on how to meet women.

Meanwhile, the film is populated by a tangled web of people who long for one another, mostly in vain. Cal's son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo, in a funny and sincere performance), pines for his babysitter, who in turn pines for Cal. Jacob is shot down after trying to pick up Hannah (Emma Stone), who is killing time in a boring relationship with a co-worker. Emily has a tentative relationship with a man with whom she had an affair.

The ways in which all of these pairing interact with one another is a particular joy. Instead of glossing over what some filmmakers might consider the "B" or "C" stories, Crazy, Stupid, Love. devotes at least one extended, meaningful scene to each relationship. The inclusion of the son's relationship with the babysitter isn't window-dressing, but a real story with its own weight and importance.

Along the way, there is some clever commentary on the rigid formula that's been established over the years for rom-coms - some sly acknowledgments of the places they are expected to go, and a collective sigh of relief when they take a detour. Sure, there are some time-tested tropes that are utilized (making a big declaration of love in front of a crowd, etc.), but by the time they occur, the film has so won us over that we really are affected by these clichés. The characters and writing are so thoroughly winning that we really do want the right things to happen to the right people.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a film that, at long last, seems to have been made by people who are just as tired of romantic comedies as we are. - Three and a half stars

User Reviews of Crazy, Stupid, Love (1)

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Carv said on Aug. 01, 2011 at 8:32am

I agree completely, Adam. Our whole group really fell for the movie. I think it's the only time I've ever seen a film get applause at the Lacey Regal.

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