Paul Aguirre-Livingston checked out the latest Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore flick, Crazy, Stupid, Love, courtesy of Warner Bros.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is crazy, stupid, good
Movies have become obsessed with documenting the complex realities of human existence, specifically interactions of a highly personal – and once highly private – nature, like love, sex, family, divorce, death, coming out, finding peace, etc. Crazy, Stupid, Love is just one of many voices in the chorus of our current cinematic opuses that attempts to examine and dissect that very thing at the centre of it all.
The film begins where most love stories end and journeys of renewal begin: in divorce. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are a couple with three kids and a 25-year marriage in shambles. Carell plays Carl, a New Balance sneaker-wearing dad who drinks vodka-cranberries like a freshman, and who is left devastated by the news that his wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce. He moves out almost immediately when Emily turns the knife by revealing she slept with the office douchebag David Lindhagen (played, appropriately enough, by Kevin Bacon).
After a few weeks on the bench at the local too-cool-for-dads watering hole, resident ladies’ man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) grows tired of Carl’s incessant bitching and moping. Jacob, a self-described “tomcat in the sack” who looks like GQ exploded all over him in every single scene, sets on a mission to transform Carl into the man he lost somewhere along the way. And he succeeds. But once the ladies come and go, all that remains is Carl’s desire to be with Emily, and he tries to parlay his newfound confidence into winning his soulmate back.
The film’s merits lie in its hilariously well-planned plot and the strength of the performances by its supporting cast. Storylines and sub-plots are weaved together to mimic the silent attachments we form with people – people who may not know we exist or people who only exist because of us.
Newcomer Jonah Bobo plays 13-year-old son Robbie, a kid wise beyond his years. He is hopelessly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter Jessica, played perfectly by former Top Model finalist Analeigh Tipton (named “one to watch” by The New York Times because of this role). Thing is, Jessica is secretly in love with Carl. But Carl still loves Emily. And Emily loves Carl, but Lindhagen wants her. See what I mean now? The whole film is clusterfuck of love triangles fit for Shakespeare. And I won’t give away the juicy bits.
Emma Stone rounds out the impressive cast with barely enough screen time, but all her moments are gold, tracing a smart, young, professional woman’s willingness to take a chance on a one night stand she barely knows (Jacob), complete with cheesy pick-up lines and a seduction routine that includes re-enacting Dirty Dancing’s iconic final dance (“the lift!”).
Despite its Haggis-like plot interactions (see: Crash) that threaten to undermine the film’s strong sincerity and makes you question its real-world probability, Crazy, Stupid, Love succeeds in attempting to explain the intricacies of why we come together. More importantly, it asks why we should make it last. Like many of its cinematic contemporaries and the great tales of love before it, Crazy, Stupid, Love ends up at the same conclusion: none of it will ever make any sense.
And although it can all seem a little crazy, and be a lot stupid, it’s always about love. See what I did there? Yup, the film will ask you that same silly question too. And you won’t mind at all.