Both Drive and The Place Beyond the Pines presented us with a dramatic and reserved character for Gosling. Crazy, Stupid, Love was the perfect remedy to overcome some heavy drama and finish the day off on a lighter note. Oh yeah and it has Emma Stone in it.
From the first scene we are hit with a rather heavy bombshell for a romantic comedy to start on. Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) bluntly asks her husband Cal (Steve Carell) for a divorce in a crowded restaurant. Carrell plays a bumbling character with little self-esteem and an evident lack of direction in his life. Added to this lost lifestyle his wife slept with another man, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) and Cal now has to face the potential start of a new life away from his children and divorced from his wife. So far the film is lacking comedy in terms of plot and there isn’t really much to feed on plot wise. But the writing and direction is superb and each serious situation is given a comedic spin to divert our attention from sullen realism. Take out the comedy and this collection of love stories would appear grotesquely saddening and shallow.
What we have instead is a marvel of scriptwriting that gives us something to root for in Cal, his children, and his friend Jacob played by the all-important Ryan Gosling. Gosling plays a character completely opposite to that of his roles in Drive and Pines. What we have is a confident extrovert with incredible tenacity, confidence and ability to pick up girls and have his shallow materialistic way with them. This is the man that sees Cal as a project, an opportunity to shut his whining out and focus on the immediate future. Through a series of Miyagi lessons Cal picks up the ability to attract women, a previously unheard of personality trait as we find out from the gossiping neighbours and friends of his wife.
The side stories that play alongside the main event contribute in specific ways, some obvious and others more subtle but each with its own impact on Cal’s life. At the centre of this confusing love *enter shape* sits Cal and Steve Carrell’s wit and humorous performance make him even more likable. The situations he gets himself into, and out of are laugh out loud funny all the way through and it really is a joy to see a rom-com and not feel bored, or unsatisfied with the predictable ending.
It isn’t the most original film in terms of basic premise, sudden divorce, period of self-discovery, win girl back, happy ending. But its structure and characters take the emphasis and pressure off one story and the combination of stories make it light hearted and appealing. Most importantly it is extremely enjoyable and has excellent rewatchability value. You won’t hear me say that too often about rom-coms on here so soak it up. This film is Brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone who fancies more of a com-rom than a rom-com.
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