Apart from being a showcase for Ryan Gosling’s chest, Crazy Stupid Love is a conventional romantic comedy where the central relationship is the least compelling of all the story-lines.
Carell stars as Cal Weaver, a rather dowdy middle-aged man who splits from his wife (Julianne Moore) after finding out she has had an affair with a colleague (Kevin Bacon). Cal turns to drinking, and begins to spend a lot of time in a bar complaining about how much his life sucks. At this bar he observes ‘ladies man’ Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) in action. Jacob decides to take the rather desperate Cal under his wing and teach him his women charming ways.
Aside from this story-line there are several other sub-plots in the film. Most of these are not interesting and just add to the too-long runtime of the film. In one sub-plot, Cal’s son is obsessed with his babysitter, who is in turn in love with Cal. The sole purpose of this sub-plot is to allow embarrassing comedic scenes and poignant family moments. It really adds nothing to the overall story and will leave you cringing.
The key relationship in the film is that of Cal and his wife Emily. The problem with this relationship is it’s simply boring. The interactions between the two contain no real chemistry, and to be frank the characters lack personality and depth. Both characters are far more interesting when they are interacting with alternative love interests. In particular, the scenes which feature Cal and a woman he meets at the bar (played by Marissa Tomei) are comical and contain real chemistry and energy. It is almost impossible to be invested in the outcome of this major story-line.
Thankfully the energy of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone saves the film from being a complete bore. Whether on screen together or separately, their presence in any scene significantly improves the film (and the overall hotness factor). Hannah’s reaction to seeing Jacob shirtless – “Fuck! Seriously! It’s like you’re photo-shopped”, is one of the highlights (for obvious reasons). Gosling is utterly charming and surprisingly funny in this comedic role. He manages to deliver the comedic lines successfully and provides almost every laugh in the film.
Overall Crazy Stupid Love is a very average romantic comedy with some high points delivered courtesy of the performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. At 118 minutes, the film is about 20 minutes too long. Some trimming of the pointless sub-plots could have made it a much tighter and more enjoyable film.
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer(s): Dan Fogelman
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon
Runtime: 118 minutes
DVD Extras: Deleted Scenes – Not very interesting. Disappointingly stingy on the extras! 1/5