What’s it about?
Cal Weaver (Steve Carrell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) are beyond a tough period in their relationship – she wants a divorce. To say poor Cal is hurt by this news, blurted out over a supposedly romantic dinner, is a gross understatement. On the way home, he opens the door of a moving car and throws himself out. This melodramatic gesture doesn’t cut the mustard and they go their separate ways.
Crazy, Stupid, Love benefits from brilliant performances and the notion its bedrock emotion comes from an honest place. This isn’t a typical pre-packaged rom-com. So many of these types of film smack of fraudulence, but not here. Packed with a variety of humour: from laugh-out-loud moments to gentle smiles, this film is a real heart-warming winner.
Cal, now living in a small apartment, meets lady-killer Jacob (Ryan Gosling) in a bar and the younger, infinitely cooler guy makes over his middle aged protégé into a sex magnet. Cal goes from inexperienced sort to bedding his son’s school teacher. Meanwhile Jacob is falling for a young girl named Hannah (Emma Stone), who just might change his philandering ways.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, along with writer Dan Fogelman, deliver a refreshing angle on near- stanard material. Cal and Emily have been together since high school and she’s just a bit sick of him. Her eye has been turned by co-worker David Lindhagen (played by Kevin Bacon, who spends most of the film correcting the mispronunciation of his last name) and perhaps Cal is responsible for getting too… boring?
Cal’s misadventures as a single man fluctuate between cringe-inducing to genuinely moving and Carrell plays off Ryan Gosling works ever so well. Cal doesn’t go down without a fight and such is the man’s devotion to what he has built with Emily: a lovely home and three children, he even turns up in the dead of night to do the gardening.
How’s the picture and sound?
For a DVD transfer it’s pretty top notch. The film is also deceptively stylish with a green and brown colour palette predominant along with sleek blues and greys. All this makes the film look great.
There’s a pile of deleted scenes and alternate ending. Usually this sort of bonus material is rubbish but here we have a great montage reel that’s very funny and scenes could easily have fit into the movie. Unfortunately there’s nothing else. A commentary or featurette wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a highly recommended and a movie that gets extra lift from its emotionally honest approach. The ending is happy but it doesn’t feel tacked on, rather, earned. Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling sending up borderline-sleazy types is also hugely enjoyable stuff.
Fogelman’s script just goes to show not all rom-coms need to be formulaic and offer cheesy sentiment with lashings of falsity. Done properly, this subgenre can be excellent and Crazy, Stupid, Love just proves this point. The film should be commended for its smart manner, rounded characters and endearing performances. Indeed its very title captures the tone of the piece very well.
Extra Features Rating:
When’s it out?
Crazy, Stupid, Love is released on Blu-ray and DVD Monday 30th January.