The infamous, multi-layered, twist-happy, dramedy/love story buoyed onto the screen by an all star (read: bankable) cast is a formula that often falls flat (for your viewing displeasure: Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day – yikes). Crazy Stupid Love is lucky to be armed with a sparkly ensemble cast whom, as a unit, possesses a severe knack for speaking the words of a screenplay with a grounded finesse that feels, for lack of a more exciting term…real.
Steve Carell is Cal Weaver, Mr. Every Dad Next Door, who seems content in the wrong sized suits, New Balance sneakers, and is the proud owner of a Velcro wallet. In all his contentment, he is blindsided by the announcement that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has been sleeping with some other guy (played by the always adept and delightfully offbeat Kevin Bacon), and subsequently she would like a divorce after 25 years of marriage. The only appropriate response to this news would be to roll out of a moving vehicle, so Cal does just that and on we go into the mid-life crisery of any worthy (or unworthy) family comma/dramedy.
Julianne Moore accomplishes the nuances required to make an unsympathetic character seem relatable and her uncertainty about her own life is somehow acceptable because she seems to garner genuine concern for her husband’s well-being despite her obvious flaws and failures as a wife. Sure, Ryan Gosling is great eye candy and it’s refreshing to see him pull off this type of light, bouncy comedy with relative ease, but Emma Stone is the real standout of the cast. She slips effortlessly into the role of the dream girl who also happens to have self-esteem, a sense of humor, and a brain (ah the elusive total package!). Stone’s a refreshing, gorgeous riot with an infectious laugh and dare I say it, a long, hearty career ahead of her. She would be wise to start designing her award case now and make sure it is multi-shelved. A special mention should be made to Marisa Tomei’s performance as a recovering alcoholic teacher, who unpleasantly and hilariously discovers her liaison with Cal is not as it seems.
Steve Carell is pure gold. That’s all. He is utterly fantastic and as charming as we have come to expect of him. The guy has this thing on lockdown, what else can I say?
Crazy Stupid Love is a really wonderful film, with some nice plot twists and a playful pace. Much of this is a testament to a phenomenal cast, but this is also a credit to the impressive screenplay by Dan Fogelman. Here’s the bottom line: See this movie if you just happen to have a fondness for good movies, or even if you just really like Spandau Ballet’s “True” which (spoiler alert) pops up in a pinnacle scene much to my delight. Great song. Even greater movie.