Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

At first blush the "Crazy, Stupid, Love" looks as if it will suffer from over casting and destined for a longer run on HBO than in the theaters. The cast is overstuffed with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and of course Kevin Bacon. Other films that have bragged about a cast like this include "He's Just Not That Into You" (2009) and "Valentine's Day" (2010). However, where those films failed by being pretentious "Crazy, Stupid, Love" attempts to overcome with the focus on the older couple and forces the "pretty" people to secondary roles.

The story follows Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore), a married couple that are having difficulties in their relationship. In true Hollywood style, Emily announces at a restaurant that she wants a divorce, which causes Cal to drink away his sorrows at a local bar and seeking a friendly ear from whoever will listen when he finds Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a professional bachelor. In a character twist similar to "40 year-old Virgin" (2005), Jacob decides to makes it his personal mission to help Cal get over his wife, and become a new man in the process. However, the twists in the story don't end there as uncomfortable love triangles develop around every turn.

Steve Carell and Julianne Moore perform well as a depressed mid-40s married couple. The story never properly develops the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and does an even worse job connecting their relationship with the rest of the story. If Emma Stone is supposed to be the next "it girl" then you would think her character would have been stronger. Her only redeeming value in the film was her comment about not wanting to be the PG-13 girl because she knows how that is going to end. However, the cliche of the film follows accordingly and the audience is left with their hand in the popcorn wanting more.

What I liked about the film was how they balanced showing that breakups are not easy on either person and that regretful feelings exist for both Women and Men. What I didn't like about the film was that it dragged on a bit. The twists in the story seemed too forced and convenient to be believable. The character development was lacking and by the end I didn't really care who got together with who and if any of them even had a happy ending.

As a date film, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is okay. However, if you are going to watch it alone you should probably wait for Netflix or HBO. I thought I would like this film more, but a 2 Quack rating seems the most appropriate.

(screening date 7/26/11, release date 7/29/11, location AMC Loews Georgetown)

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