A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.
Year 1, Day 218
BEFORE: Yes, even on Super Bowl Sunday (or El Plato Supreme if you will) the movie marathon continues. The film today is Crazy Stupid Love which is Steve Carell’s first film in the marathon and the first of Ryan Gosling’s many romance films that will be featured in this chain. Returning to the marathon is Emma Stone (last seen in Easy A), Julianne Moore (last seen in The Big Lebowski), and Marisa Tomei (last seen in Parental Guidance).
AFTER: Crazy Stupid Love has a lot going for it. The ensemble cast is full of great talent and the film is both funny and serious at the same time. IMDb lists it as a comedy first, but I think it really is a drama with humor used as a way to lighten the mood and not make it a completely depressing.
The film starts off right away with Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) asking her husband Cal (Steve Carell) for a divorce. From there you see Cal’s journey from a middle-aged man who is at one of the lowest points in his life try to find happiness again with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). If I had any complaint about the film it would deal with the supplementary story lines and characters that take away focus from Cal, Emily, and Jacob. All of the other characters like the Weaver’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), the babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), and David (Kevin Bacon) among others are very important to the film, but until the ending, they’re just sort of there and their purposes are questionable (especially the Robbie/Jessica and Jessica/Cal relationships). Before the ending, where everything comes together in an unexpected and very ingesting way, I found myself enjoying the film but not loving it. It’s after the big turning point where the film made complete sense and I was able to forget about some of the non sequiturs and questionable plot directions. Everything now made sense and these characters, and their story, could do no wrong.
There is still a lot to enjoy in the film before the ending though. You have two male characters who represent opposite ends of the spectrum with Cal bringing the sweet and loyal demo and Jacob bringing the visually attractive and womanizing demo. The striking differences between these two men creates a lot of humor as Jacob attempts to make Cal more pleasing upon first impressions and Cal slowly changing Jacob’s thoughts on relationships and love. In addition to these two great characters you also have the wonderful Hannah (Emma Stone) whose character has more to her than what meets the eye and even Emily adds a decent amount of quality to the film.
This is one of those films that grows on you the further in you get. At the beginning I was satisfied with where the film was heading and could tell my overall impression would be a positive one but the ending really took Crazy Stupid Love to that next level. There is still a bit of weirdness to the film but any complaint I have about the story or the characters is mitigated by how everything turns out. Highly recommend putting this on your own list of films to see.
RATING: 5 out of 5