CRAZY STUPID LOVE.
When Emily (Julianne Moore) files for divorce after 20 years of marriage, Cal (Steve Carell) is at a loss - and lectured by his 13 year old love-sick son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who has fallen for the family babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Cal nurses his pain at a bar, where he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who inhabits the singles bars, takes him under his Lothario wing and shows him the swinging singles ropes. But Jacob finds himself in the deep end when his one night stand with Hannah (Emma Stone) blossoms into a real relationship.
Review by Louise Keller:
Soulmates, one-night-stands, unrequited love and game changers are the ingredients of this delectable romantic comedy that cooks up a pretty and powerful head of steam. It's about love, marriage, infidelity and infatuation, when every moment compounds and becomes more and more complicated, as the love lives of an engaging bunch of characters unravel. Dan Fogelman (Cars 2, Tangled) has concocted a poignant and very funny screenplay that explores the heartbreak, the thrill, the disappointment and the discovery as love manifests, bubbles and froths. Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling head a splendid cast that guides us through this hilarious and moving rollercoaster of emotions.
It all begins over dessert at a restaurant, when Julianne Moore's adulterous wife Emily tells husband Cal (Carell) she wants a divorce. The third party is a work associate whose memorable name of David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) sounds a little like an icecream brand. The irony is that Cal and Emily bonded over icecream many years earlier, when they first met as 15 year olds. There is more awkward music to face when the news is broken to Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), the 17 year old babysitter with a giant crush on Cal and is overheard by their 13 year old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who has a king size crush on Jessica.
It is over vodka and cranberry at a trendy bar that Cal meets Jacob (Gosling), the hot guy who successfully hits on every pretty girl ('It's like you're photo-shopped,' Emma Stone's Hannah squeals when he takes off his shirt and she traces her finger over his impressive 6-pack). There's an unexpected U-turn when Jacob takes Cal in hand ('I don't know whether to help you or to euthanize you') and gives him the equivalent of the Pretty Woman shopping spree, together with first hand tips on how to seduce women. Everything happens for a reason with hilarious payoffs as the various relationships collide, detonated by bad timing, coincidence and embarrassment.
Every performance is perfectly pitched as is the exposition, superbly directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the duo who wrote and directed Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor in the recent, I Love You Phillip Morris. Carell and Gosling are especially good and I like Stone as the law student who wants to escape from her PG rated life. Bobo, as the gawky love-lorn teen does well, too and Marisa Tomei is a hoot as the girl in the bar. I laughed and I cried in this happy, crazy and spectacularly funny film that is one of the most enjoyable of the year. Love is worth fighting for, that's for sure.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With a spider's web of relationships, Crazy, Stupid Love throws a whole lot of emotional pain into the mix to bake a cake of instantly recognisable joys and misadventures in pursuit of loving bliss. Decorated with irony like so much icing, the film avoids overcooking and teases us with its aromas of bitter and sweet.
To switch metaphors, it fires its barbs at our weakest spot: our hearts. Julianne Moore can be counted on to display complex and competing emotions with unrivalled ease, and as the character who triggers the chain reaction that engulfs the entire family (and a couple of outsiders), she has need to do so.
Steve Carrel has that brittle comedic angst that reminds me of Woody Allen although they are totally different; but they are both adept at self inflicted pain and self analysis in a way that is tragi-comic.
The entire cast is wonderful, turning potential caricatures into tangibly flawed (but short of bad) people we might find amongst our circle of family and friends. Ryan Gosling's star has risen lately and rightly so, showing us his range. Here, he is effortless as he swings from swinger to love-struck bachelor. Young Jonah Bobo is a knock-out as Robbie the 13 year old with a huge crush on his babysitter, 17 year old Jessica, the equally sensational Analeigh Tipton - who in turn has a crush on Robbie's dad, Cal. This leads to serious complication that are hilariously resolved - well, sort of resolved.
Marisa Tomei plays Kate, who has a surprise for audiences when her connections to key characters are revealed, and Emma Stone is vibrantly vulnerable as Hannah, the young graduating lawyer, who also has a few surprises for us viz her connections. Kevin Bacon and John Carrol Lynch have the least thankful (and unlikeable) but vitally important roles and both excel at them.
The screenplay piles on the textures and complexities that make it interesting and the duo of directors, Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, build the film's dynamic tension to a satisfying crescendo.
As the film whips from funny to forlorn, from robust to restrained, it retains its essential tone of a torn humanity, a snapshot of how random happiness is, if it is within our grasp at all.
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CRAZY STUPID LOVE. (M)
CAST: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton, Marisa Tomei, John Carrol Lynch, Kevin Bacon, Liza Lapira, Josh Groban
PRODUCER: Steve Carell, Denise Di Novi
DIRECTOR: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
SCRIPT: Dan Fogelman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn
EDITOR: Lee Haxall
MUSIC: Christoph Beck, Nick Urata
PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Arnold
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 29, 2011
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.