Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love review... one of the best romantic-comedies ever

I hate it when people prematurely title something the "best ever".  I am consciously aware that I am about to contradict the previous sentence with the next... Crazy, Stupid, Love may be the best romantic-comedy of all time!  I'm not kidding.  Brief summary: Steve Carell's marriage to Julianne Moore is ending (she cheated on him with Kevin Bacon).  He gets some lessons on how to man-up by Ryan Gosling (who has the hots for the good-girl, Emma Stone).  Got it?  Good!  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
 The Actors
Steve Carell is so unique, there is really no other actor to compare him to.  There is a sense of sincerity in his face that you can't teach.  His comedic timing is impeccable too.  He starts the film as the nerd who we feel sorry for.  By the end of the film, we're standing up and cheering for him to succeed.  I don't want to give away anything, but Carell is able to transform right before our eyes, nice job.

Ryan Gosling is one funny guy!  Gosling is a tremendous talent, he just keeps getting better and better.  In Crazy, Stupid, Love he plays a womanizer who sets out to help Carell regain his confidence.  With a swagger and charm to match his good looks, he plays the part with such wit, you can't help but love to hate to love him.

The supporting cast is great as well.  Emma Stone as Gosling's love interest makes ANY man want to change their ways.  Julianne Moore has a very difficult role.  She could have easily been the villain in the film because she cheated on Carell, but we don't see her that way.  We feel a little sorry for her because of what's going in behind the scenes.  She's confused, a little neglected and under appreciated.  Kevin Bacon is in the film, but for only a few scenes, he does great!

The Relationships
I have a few close friends I've grown up with that I still talk to on a weekly basis.  I know what being a true friend is and how much hard work it takes.  I felt the relationships in the movie were very well written and believable; especially the relationship between Carell and Gosling.  The two play opposites that riff off each other so well.  One is teaching the other and we're invited for the ride.  The mutual respect is there and the comedy feels natural.  It's a Yin Yang relationship.

Speaking of Yin Yang relationships, so too is the one between Gosling and Stone.  She is the lawyer, good girl; and he is the bad boy womanizer.  It was nice to see Gosling's character change over the course of the film.  Then of course there's Carell and Moore.  You know they love each other.  You know they've been together a long time.  But we also know things must change to make them stay together.  Great stuff.

The Story
The movie featured a large cast, we were bound to see ourselves in at least one of the characters right?!  Whether you are a male who is confident with women, or a female who is starving for attention, there's something in this movie for you.  Never steering too far from reality is key to the success of the film.  There are definitely exaggerated scenes, but "it could happen".  I loved the story and the character arcs.

What I didn't like about the film:
The Coincidence
Marisa Tomei is in the film and plays one of Carell's post-marriage lovers.  Don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything you haven't already seen in the trailer.  Well, it turns out she is the 8th grade teacher to Carell and Moore's 13 year old son.  Why?  It doesn't add anything to the film except for the awkward moment at the parent-teacher meeting with Tomei.  I hate when movies do that.  I complained about it in my review for The Town; same thing happened.  Small complaint, just a pet peeve really.

The Verdict:
Great stories lead to great movies... period
I sit back sometimes and wonder to myself, "Is it really that hard to make a good movie?".  The answer is yes, but a good story always helps ;o)  A good story, good actors and good direction can make for some beautiful art.  By the end of the film, we care.  I say it a lot on this blog, but I want to care about the characters.  I want to care about what happens to them.  Are they going to be OK?  Is everything going to work out?  And this movie succeeded in so many ways.  As far as this movie, I'm in love.  Crazy, Stupid, Love.

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