Crazy, Stupid, Love
The best way to summarize the film is by listing the relationships which all lead back to Cal (Steve Carrell). Cal’s wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) announces she wants a divorce after 25 years of marriage and admits to cheating on him with her co-worker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Meanwhile Cal’s son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), is a lovesick puppy for his babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). She is extremely uncomfortable with his forwardness because she has her own inappropriate crush on Cal.
Depressed and lonely, Cal begins to habitually sit alone at a bar every night talking out loud to no one as he sips cranberry vodkas. After weeks of observing this poor shmuck, the suave and slickly dressed Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes Cal under his wing and teaches shows him the ropes to becoming a sexy womanizer. Cal and Jacob forge an unlikely friendship through drinking booze and wooing women, in particular Robbie’s 8th grade teacher (Marisa Tomei), which jumpstarts Cal’s reputation as a lady’s man in his community.
Things get messy for Cal when he and Emily finally come face to face for the first time since their breakup at Robbie’s parent teacher conference. In classic Hollywood fashion, it begins pouring rain as Cal is left to contemplate his new lifestyle and recent antics. Now that Cal has hit rock bottom you wonder where the movie will go from here?
Somewhere across town, a girl named Hannah (Emma Stone) storms out of her passing the BAR exam party because her boyfriend offers her a position at his law firm instead of proposing to her. Sick of her PG-rated life, she dramatically returns to the same local bar to take up Jacob’s offer to go home with her. Jacob falls in love with Hannah and gives up his lady chasing ways, leaving Cal in the dust during his time of need. Chaos ensues when Hannah finally brings Jacob home to meet her parents, and just when you thought these relationships couldn’t get any more complicated, they do.
The reason people are going to see this movie is for the cast — not for the plot. And rightfully so: Carrell, Moore, Stone and Gosling play their roles flawlessly. Carrell uses his best self-deprecating humor to convey his pain and endearingly exudes vulnerability at every opportunity. Moore has good intentions, but as usual is slightly discombobulated when it comes to maintaining her relationships. Stone is witty, confrontational and admirable, but doesn’t have nearly enough lines (considering she is the real box office hitter in this film). Gosling, fit with a terribly stereotypical New York accent, is an irresistible heartthrob who is confident but not necessarily cocky.
While at times the drama can be a bit exasperating, the minor relationships give the movie an interesting comedic texture. If the plot stuck to the main stories between Cal, Emily, Jacob and Hannah it would exclude so many other stages of love, which isn’t fair to the younger crowd. Cal, Robbie and Jessica’s love triangle is kind of gross, but it’s an interesting perspective on the strife of teenage love.
Likewise, Robbie’s teacher and David Lindhagen are also characters that could have been removed from the web, but they were necessary for depicting how Cal and Emily actually felt about one another. It’s clear that Emily is the only woman Cal wants to be with, but despite her indiscretion with Lindhagen, Emily never expresses a long-term interest in him either. Emily asking for a divorce seems more like a cure for boredom than a solution to existing marital problems.
This film raises questions about faithfulness, sincerity and social skills, but all the while being wildly entertaining. Crazy, Stupid, Love brings multiple generations together to enjoy the ridiculous and often embarrassing things people do when they’re in love.