Two Parts Soap Opera, One Part Romantic Comedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy, Stupid, Love or Stupid, Crazy, Love?  That was the question that plagued my mind this past week as the constant flood of trailers swarmed onto the television channels.  It seems that almost every other week a chick flick or romantic comedy is coming out and while many of my friends can’t wait to see the films, others grow tired of seeing the same old thing.  Now I’ve been doing my research on IMDB, Metacritic, and EW and I must say there has been a large mix of reviews for this movie.  So after checking it out yesterday, I decided to put in my two cents about this movie.  Let’s get started.

The premise for this movie is that Cal (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) are getting a divorce due to lack of romance and care in their relationship.  Cal, taking the news harder than his wife, decides to spend his time in the bar complaining about his troubles, eventually gaining the attention of Jacob (Ryan Gosling) the suave, sophisticated, and skilled player.  Under his tutelage, Cal begins a transformation from geeky married man to Jacob’s right hand man and the movie portrays his adventures in his new life.  Despite his new appearance, Cal still has a lingering spark for his wife and Jacob as well begins to feel something more for a particular girl.  The two must now search their own hearts and determine what they truly want for their lives.  See trailer here

So yes sounds like a typical soap opera/romantic comedy right?  Well that’s pretty much what it is my friends, but with a more realistic twist.  Unlike some romantic comedies that portray love as a mushy and magical fantasy that everyone dreams about, Crazy, Stupid, Love is a realistic look at how hard love and life can be.  Throughout the entire movie Cal and company get hit with a lot of crap and often at times where things are starting to get better.  Instead of some magical solution showing itself, everyone has to work hard, persist, and sometimes unite to get pass the problem.  There are plenty of times when you feel sorry for Cal as the poor guy gets caught between two worlds.  Perhaps what adds more realism to this movie is that Corell’s acting has really captured the confused, scared, and caring role of a devoted husband and all the emotions that are tied to it.  I have to warn you that Carell has diverged from his typical loud, obnoxious, and aggressive comedy style you’ve come to love.  Instead he’s traded it for a more somber, awkward, and well-timed comedy that had the audience giggling through the movie.  Moore as well does her job well with the exception of her comedy which is a little too overacted for me, but seems to excel at crying, being depressed, and being a devoted mother.

Despite the constant depression and bad relationships in this movie there is some comedy in this movie that kind of brightened up the mood.  Gosling who has trades his down home country boy part for the player had well-timed, clever dialog that complemented his character quite well.  He also manages to capture the transition of lone wolf to good friend in the movie that had me reminiscing about some of my friendships.  The youthful innocence and surprisingly mature comedy centered on Robbie (Jonah Bobo) was perhaps the biggest source of laughs for me.  At the age of 13, the young boy faces his own dilemmas that question his look on love, and actually provide for quite an entertaining side story.  Even more the direction of this movie resulted in me actually getting lost in nostalgia at the emotions I faced when I was that age, minus a few things.  Emma Stone even provided some comedic relief to the movie, more in the art of teeny bopper one liners that get a quick laugh.  She also has some issues to overcome, but she wasn’t really in enough of the movie to really elaborate her problems or develop her character.

Hopefully what you’ve picked up from this review is that there are a lot of problems and a lot of connections between the characters which makes for a very involved story.  The comedy, although sometimes over my head, was well done and kept the movie fun and entertaining.  Even Marissa Tomei’s part, although short, gave us some cheap laughs.  Unfortunately this comedy is not enough to keep the pace fast enough for me.  I must warn you that this movie seems to drag on at places and sometimes made me feel like the movie was going to last forever.  The movie could have probably been a half an hour shorter and still gotten the same message from the movie.  However, despite some of the unnecessary scenes, there were a few twists that impressed me and finally broke the predictable trend of the chick flick I so longed for.  What even impressed me even more was that the ending, although somewhat predictable was not the ending I was expecting, which again I applaud.  Despite the ending not being predictable, most of the movie was and the dialog was.  Combine this predictableness with the slow pace and you get a combination that can lead you to a snooze fest.

Well let’s sum this review up since I’m running out of things to talk about.  Crazy, Stupid, Love is one of the more surprising romantic comedies of the summer.  The acting is superb, the dialog is clever and well timed, and the relationships and characters are well developed and intertwined.  However, the pace of the movie can really bring you down and may even make you nod off at parts as I saw happen a couple of times with various audience members.  However, I have to give it up for this chick flick surprising me and the realism that was in this movie, which was a nice change for once.  Thus I’ll give this movie a solid 8.0, but strongly suggest waiting for this movie to come out on Netflix and Red Box unless you want to see an expensive soap opera.  Tune in later today/tomorrow to read about the Smurfs.

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