Movie Review: CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE

You might find the title Crazy, Stupid, Love an apt description of how summer flicks usually make you feel, but the movie itself can be described as Funny, Sexy, Sweet. All three adjectives also apply to the revelation that is Ryan Gosling, and I’m not just talking about his “Photoshopped” abs.

Steve Carell is Cal, married to his high-school sweetheart, Emily (Julianne Moore), who suddenly asks for a divorce. Devastated, he hangs out in bars, drinking alone, until he meets Jacob (Gosling), a sharp-dressed lothario who decides to Miyagi-ize Cal into a stud. Jacob also uses his own methods to pursue Hannah (Emma Stone), the only girl in the joint who doesn’t instantly disrobe upon hearing his pickup lines. Cal starts dressing better and dating Kate (a robust Marisa Tomei), not realizing his teenage babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), has a crush on him while his young son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has his eyes on Jessica. Yes, it’s a lot of characters in multiple plotlines but they all come together in entertaining—and surprising—ways.

In easily the best cast of the summer, Gosling is the highlight, perhaps because we’ve never seen him quite like this. Gone completely are the angst and turmoil of his troubled characters like Dean in Blue Valentine. Even his posture is different. Gosling’s Jacob is Mr. Smooth, eyes gleaming with mirth, hair lightened with gold and abs…well, they must have put the actor in Captain America’s buff-him-up machine, too. He makes the comedy look effortless, as if he’s been doing it his entire career. Jacob could have easily been a cheesy playboy in a lesser actor’s hand, but Gosling makes him an endearing combination of suave and sweet.

Carell is no straight man to Gosling; he gets his own share of laughs by committing to how sad and lost Cal is. Sometimes the most potent comedy arises from actors being completely serious (see: Eugene Levy in everything). Stone adds more evidence to the argument she’s the most engaging actress of her age group, creating a sparkly chemistry with Gosling that brings out the goofy best in both. Bobo is thankfully non-precocious, even as he delivers speeches about love that shows how Robbie might know more about the subject than the adults give him credit for. Moore, unfortunately, doesn’t have much to do. This is more about the men—it’s a bro-com.

Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled) proves he can also write good movies for adults, and co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You, Phillip Morris) know how to make viewers laugh while giving us real sentiment. They even throw in plot twists and Josh Groban. There’s a lot to like and relate to in this movie, because haven’t we all been crazy, stupid or in love—perhaps often and all at the same time—at some point in our lives?

Nerd verdict: It’s Crazy good

Photos: Warner Bros.

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    July 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Loved the trailer, and I was hoping it would live up to what I saw and laughed over in the theater. Always a fan of Gosling and Emma Stone can do no wrong in my book.

    Good little scoop there, PCN!

  • Reply
    Brett Battles
    July 27, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Excellent. This has been on my want to see list, but have worried that it wouldn’t live up to what I hoped. Glad to here you liked it, and can’t wait to see it myself!

  • Reply
    Reader#9
    July 27, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Any idea why they don’t seem to be pushing this movie too hard. Only seen a few ads. Have I been living under a rock or something?

    • Reply
      Brett Battles
      July 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Living under a rock, me thinks, or at least not living in L.A. It’s everywhere here. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    July 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    EIREGO—I just read Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling are teaming up again in another movie called THE GANGSTER SQUAD with Sean Penn (playing Mickey Cohen) and Josh Brolin. Talk about another amazing cast.

    Brett—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Are you planning a hot date?

    Reader#9—I DVR through all commercials so I can’t comment about the movie’s ads or lack thereof. But I’m promoting it for free because it’s good!

    • Reply
      Brett Battles
      July 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Oh…dating. Hmmmm. I’ve heard about that somewhere, but am unfamiliar with the basic process…better just to write.

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        July 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        But don’t you have to, ah, research some things so you can write about them?

      • Reply
        Paulette Feeney
        July 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm

        YES! Keep writing, and quickly, please….I need my Quinn.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    July 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Don’t get me excited, PCN ~ is there gratuitous Josh Groban in this movie? I’m there. {Steve Carell’s winsomely endearing sad and lost face and Ryan Gosling’s abs come second and third respectively to that. Ok, maybe third and second.} This one looks very good! Thanks as always, Elyse.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 8, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Yes, there’s gratuitous Josh Groban in this movie!

  • Reply
    Paulette Feeney
    July 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I am so glad this earned your approval. I would have seen it anyway, but now I will claim that I am doing something worthy. Two friends (also teachers) are doing this movie and Bad Teacher as our last summer outings!

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    July 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I’m definitely making it a double-feature weekend: Cowboys & Aliens and this one! Thanks for the review, Elyse.

    • Reply
      Christine
      July 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Ooh, that double-feature sounds like a great idea, Michael!

  • Reply
    Christine
    July 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I’m so glad you liked this movie! I liked what I’d seen in the trailers. I’m on that Emma Stone bandwagon with you and would have been bummed if you’d been disappointed with the film. Definitely won’t wait until it comes to the movie channels to see it!

    Thanks, Elyse!

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    August 8, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I just saw this on Friday and absolutely loved it. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but you’re right, it was a really sweet, realistic movie.

    And Gosling? I have never – not once – seen a photo of him where I thought he was cute, but HOT DAMN. I mean, really. He was so incredibly sexy, particularly the scene where he’s eating pizza outside the mall.

    I almost couldn’t get over it. I’ve been single much too long. Anyway, great great movie, and great review as well.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Though I am a huge Gosling fan, I’ve always admired him for his talent and had never thought he was hot. Until this movie. I went into it thinking, “Ryan Gosling plays the hot guy? I don’t know…” And then he appeared on screen and my reaction was like Emma Stone’s when he first took his shirt off.

      Glad you liked the movie!

      • Reply
        jenn aka the picky girl
        August 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

        I haven’t seen Gosling in anything, so I was really impressed. As you mention, it could have been just “playboy” but his expressions and personality were so much more than that. Love.

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          August 8, 2011 at 10:23 am

          Well, then, you might be in for a shock if you check him out in something like BLUE VALENTINE. He’s amazing in it, as he is in everything, but his character, Dean, doesn’t look anything like Jacob. He’s middle-aged and disillusioned and even has a bald spot. That’s why I said, “WHAT?!” in my head when I saw him all bronzed and buff here.

  • Reply
    Paulette Feeney
    August 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I did finally see this…and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am willing to bet that producers wish now that some of the “needless” bits had been left out. I think it packed more of a punch than expected.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

      I’m happy you went to see this instead of BAD TEACHER. (Or maybe you saw both?) I wasn’t expecting much going in because rom-coms are often so corny, but this charmed the pants
      off me.

      Has school started yet for you?

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