Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a much-appreciated change of pace, a witty, hilarious and constantly surprising comedy for adults without a single “We got so wasted... what did we do?” joke. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who can do no wrong after I Love You, Phillip Morris) and starring a fantastic cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei and Emma Stone, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a multifaceted romantic classic in the vein of Love, Actually (maybe the secret of success is putting punctuation in your title).
Cal (Steve Carell) is blindsided when his wife of twenty-five years, Emily (Julianne Moore), announces over dessert that she wants a divorce, and that she slept with a coworker. Drowning his sorrows at a hip LA bar, he meets Jacob (Gosling), the ultimate player, who takes pity on the clothing-and-haircut-challenged Cal. Jacob gives Cal a macho makeover and ‘lessons with the ladies’, while finally meeting the girl of his dreams (Stone), who makes him want to reform.
Meanwhile, Cal’s thirteen year-old son (the unfortunately-named Jonah Bobo) is madly in love with his seventeen year-old baby sitter (Liv Tyler look-alike and America’s Next Top Model finalist Analeigh Tipton), who in turn, has a crush on Cal. Tomei has a priceless supporting role I can’t divulge, and suffice it to say, there are more surprises in Crazy, Stupid, Love. than in a case of Cracker Jacks. Ficarra and Requa, along with Tangled scribe Dan Fogelman, have mined yet another off-center piece of comedy gold.
Gosling seems to revel in playing off his good looks and killer abs, rather than hiding them as he did in Blue Valentine, and it is a joy to watch. Carell and Moore have such great, mature comic timing and chemistry that you can’t help but root for their success. Stone is quickly becoming a Julia Roberts wattage star, based on this performance, Easy A and the upcoming The Help.
You would have to be crazy or stupid not to love Crazy, Stupid, Love.
UPDATE: Crazy, Stupid, Love is now available on DVD and Blu-rayfrom Amazon.com.
Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.