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Crazy Stupid Love - Review

Crazy Stupid Love

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

CRAZY Stupid Love is positive proof that you can make a comedy about relationships that’s grounded in reality, that’s as heartfelt as it is heartbreaking and downright funny to boot.

Boasting a fine ensemble cast of seasoned comedians and dramatic performers, a clever script from Pixar/Disney veteran Dan Fogelman, and some smart direction from I Love You Phillip Morris filmmakers and Bad Santa writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, this is a feel-good experience for both sexes that’s sexy, slushy and totally cool.

After 15 years of marriage, Cal (Steve Carell) is unceremoniously dumped, mid-restaurant, by his wife (Julianne Moore) who has started sleeping with a work colleague (Kevin Bacon).

Distraught, Cal hangs out in a bar bemoaning his sorrows, whereupon hip ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes pity on him and resolves to turn him into a slick bar-hound.

But just as Cal begins to turn his fortunes around, thanks to a fling with highly-strung teacher Kate (Marisa Tomei), Jacob finds himself in unchartered territory when he starts to fall seriously in love with Hannah (Emma Stone), a hip lawyer who refuses to succumb to his charms too easily.

Much of the joy in watching Crazy Stupid Love unfold lies in the way it continually wrong-foots viewers, while remaining careful not to become too contrived, sentimental or outrageous.

Rather, it keeps its characters real and flawed so that not even Moore’s Emily feels like the villain of the piece. Rather, through the course of the movie, viewers can understand the frustrations that led to her decision, just as Cal begins to realise his failings as a husband and seeks to correct them.

And Cal, too, is not above bad decision making all the way through the film, subjecting viewers to a particularly selfish passage of judgement forming that makes him all the more identifiable.

It’s a brave move to weave such complex emotions into a comedy but by doing so Ficarra and Requa earn their laughs and their tears without feeling as though they’re being overly manipulative (save for one cop-out, overly Hollywood sequence towards the end).

The overall result is a comedy-drama that thrives on the easygoing chemistry between its talented stars and which plays to everyone’s strengths.

Carell is excellent as the heartbroken Cal, never over-playing the heartbreak or the successes, while Gosling is so, so cool as the slick Romeo who provides Cal with his makeover. The interplay between the two actors is terrific and you wish there was more of it.

But everyone makes their mark, whether it’s Moore, Stone or Tomei or even the various unmentioned supporting players who contribute rich cameos (from friends to sons to babysitters).

The constantly evolving nature of the screenplay, too, ensures that there are one or two surprises in store that should genuinely leave you floored.

The most striking and enjoyable thing about Crazy Stupid Love is just how well it juggles the various components, meaning that it’s feel-good funny, achingly romantic (witness a phone conversation between Carell and Moore as he watches her from the garden) and smartly observant without resorting to needless showboating or bad taste elements.

It is, without doubt, one of my favourite comedies of the year – and one that has something to offer for viewers of both sexes and every age. And how often can you say that about a Hollywood mainstream comedy, especially one that clocks in at almost two hours?

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 118mins
UK Release Date: September 23, 2011