out of Five
Running time: 118
Enjoyable comedy drama with likeable characters, an engaging script and terrific performances from a fine ensemble cast, though it's also a little too long and there are a couple of moments that seem misjudged.
What's it all about?
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa), Crazy Stupid Love stars Steve Carell as Cal, a married husband and father who's devastated when his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) tells him she's been unfaithful and wants a divorce. While drowning his sorrows in a local bar, Cal meets smooth pick-up artist Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who decides to take him under his wing and give him a makeover.
Soon, Cal is a bona fide ladies man, but after a wild night with a fellow recent divorceé (Marisa Tomei, very funny), he realises that he's still in love with Emily, so he tries to get her back. Meanwhile, Jacob meets his match in feisty trainee lawyer Hannah (Emma Stone), while Cal's son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) falls in love with his teenage babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), unaware that she has a crush on his dad.
Crazy Stupid Love's main strength is its collection of likeable characters, who somehow manage to remain sympathetic even when they're doing unlikeable things. The script's generosity even extends to Kevin Bacon (as the work colleague that Emily slept with), a character that could easily have been written and played as the villain of the piece.
Carell is excellent as Cal, sparking nicely off Gosling (their unexpectedly touching friendship is just as important as the central relationships) and generating strong chemistry with both Moore and Bobo. However, that's nothing compared to the smoking hot chemistry between Gosling and Emma Stone, while Stone, in turn, pretty much steals the film, adding a number of adorable, presumably improvised touches to her character such as biting Gosling's shoulder while he's on the phone in a shop.
The main problem with the film is that, one very clever moment aside, it's all rather predictable and can't resist indulging in one of the worst romcom clichés, the personal speech, via microphone, to a large audience of people who couldn't care less. The film is also a good twenty minutes too long and has the occasional dodgy moment where the tone feels misjudged, such as a scenes involving some naked photographs or Marisa Tomei's character's angry reaction at a parents’ evening.
Crazy Stupid Love is a likeable, emotionally engaging comedy-drama that's worth seeing for the superb performances from its fine ensemble cast.