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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
- Deleted Scenes
- Steve and Ryan Walk Into a Bar
- DVD and Streaming copy
- The Player Meets His Match
Pathetic 40-something soon-to-be divorcee meets a super cool 30-something who is also sort of pathetic.
Steve Carrell stars as the aforementioned 40-something Cal; Ryan Gosling as his Hitch, Jacob; and Julianne Moore, as his future ex-wife. Backing them up is Emma Stone as Jacob’s new flame and Marissa Tomei as Carrell’s.
This comedy about finding first love at any age will please an audience who spends most of their lives looking for smart, character-based comedies, with clever plotting and great performances.
Adult romantic comedies are tricky business. Usually trying to play it safe, Hollywood produces film after film about desperate 40-somethings looking for love after a heartbreaking trauma or a sad, lonely 40 years. These lead to journeys to find oneself, a coming of age story for people in their 40s. It’s great.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is just not one of them.
While Crazy, Stupid, Love, is a film about love after love lost, it’s also a film about first love. Told from the perspective of three men at three different stages of life, Love divulges the points that many films seem to withhold; namely that change is as important as stasis, and that sometimes changing is a means of getting back to who you originally were.
The youngest perspective shows heartache of Robbie Weaver (Jonah Bobo), a 12-year-old boy lusting after his 17-year-old babysitter. His is the journey of the romantic, professing his love in way that’s less eloquent than a poem by Shelley, but still pretty endearing. The audience is well aware that he probably won’t succeed, yet his persistence is invigorating, especially compared to that of his father Cal, whom, at this point in life, is the male equivalent of shaking hands with a dead fish.
It’s not a hard comparison to make. During the first scene, the film guides us through a romantic evening in a beautiful restaurant. Couples munch on their food, play footsie under the tables, and stare longingly into each other’s eyes. Then, we meet Cal, who’s staring longingly at a menu and unsuccessfully suppressing gas; his dissatisfied wife staring in disgust. There marriage has hit a lull, and it’s no surprise that in the next scene, she reveals a longtime affair. But Cal doesn’t fight for his marriage. He submits to sign the papers.
His life in the dumps, Cal begins hopelessly getting back on the scene, hitting up trendy night clubs in a frumpy polo shirt, a baggy pair of khakis, and some beat up New Balance sneakers. He no longer has any good time buddies to make a splash at the club, so he pathetically waits at the bar, hoping someone will engage him. It’s there that 30-year-old playboy Jacob Palmer (Gosling) comes to his aide. Jacob takes Cal under his wing and shows him the ins-and-outs of loving-em-and-leaving-em. Cal picks up the game quickly and begins his transformation into a new man; though, a man he’s not sure he wants to be.
Cal’s transformation into the older Jacob lends itself nicely to Carrell’s own brand of awkward humor. With slight traces of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Michael Scott, Carrell acts ignorant to his own shortcomings (that or actively suppressing this self awareness) and surprisingly resilient to his failures. It’s no surprise that he’s pathetic enough to be easy to cling to.
Jacob, on the other hand, should be easy to hate. He’s cocky, presumptuous, and far too successful for a guy that seemingly does nothing other than go to bars and work on his tan. But Gosling doesn’t play the guy as the obvious jerk that he is. He plays him for Carrell’s benefit. He’s both a reminder to Carrell of the life he had and the life he wants; the unloved and the superficially happy.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa don’t glamorize either side. They portray marital love as something that requires so much work that it’s a mystery as to why any one would want it. Likewise, they show Jacob’s promiscuity as an empty void that grabs hold of anything that will fill it, whether that be clothes or expensive drinks. Neither Cal nor Jacob truly grasp what they want. Ficarra and Requa give that role to Robbie.
By framing the film around Robbie’s first love, Ficarra and Requa give the audience a clear and pure example of first love, portraying it as messy, embarrassing, and illogical. Still, Robbie’s obsession remains so entirely innocent that we’re also given a goal. To rekindle first love or find it at 30 becomes a necessity for the two elder characters.
Crazy, Stupid, Love works through a combination of energy and smarts. The script is expertly written, the camera work is bright and exhilarating, and the performances are top notch. And while the film tends to run about fifteen minutes too long, Ficarra and Requa deliver enough surprises to keep the film from repeating itself.
Crazy, Supid, Love comes with a Blu-ray, DVD, and digital version of the film. It looked fantastic in high definition, but there’s not much in terms of features, though.
Steve and Ryan Walk Into a Bar is some promotional material for the film you just watched. Carrell and Gosling talk about the movie as clips from the movie are spliced into the the interview. It’s kind of funny, but not as funny as the movie. Why would someone watch this? Because fuck yeah, Ryan Gosling, I guess.
The Player Meets His Match is some more promotional material for the film you use watched. This time, Gosling and Stone talk about their love scenes as clips from the movie are spliced in between talking head interviews with the actors. None of it is particularly interesting.
Fans of the film should give the deleted scenes a look, especially the ones involving Hannah’s friend Liz. Fans of Liz should like the added scenes featuring Liz. Apartment hunting with Carrell is pretty much the best. Also, “Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to be one of those bartenders with great life advice, would you?”
Some deleted scenes, trailers, etc. The film’s good enough and you get it three times. Shouldn’t that be enough? Well, it’s not like you have a choice.