Magazine article Screen International

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Magazine article Screen International

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Article excerpt

Dir: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. US. 2011. 118mins

The complexities of the heart are given a dispiritingly glib once-over in Crazy, Stupid, Love., a comedy-drama that pretends to be a honest look at relationships when it's really just burdened with simplistic characters and sitcom set-ups. Star and producer Steve Carell provides a dependable soulfulness to this story about a troubled marriage, but the increasingly preposterous plotting makes the film hard to love or even like.

Dan Fogelman's screenplay strains to be ambitious.

Opening domestically July 29, this Warner Bros. release should appeal to two generations of date-night crowds, with Carell and Julianne Moore courting older viewers while Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone bring in younger moviegoers. Nonetheless, a lack of a sexy hook means that Crazy, Stupid, Love. will need good word-of-mouth to ensure that it's a sturdy, long-haul performer amidst a summer marketplace brimming with bigger, louder offerings.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. focuses on Cal (Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore), a couple who have been married since they were teenagers. But one night, Emily announces she wants a divorce, admitting that she's slept with someone else. Heartbroken, Cal turns to Jacob (Gosling), a handsome lady-killer he meets in a bar who instructs the suddenly single Cal on the art of wooing women.

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who previously helmed I Love You Phillip Morris and were the writers on Bad Santa, Crazy, Stupid, Love. represents a more polished, less anarchic side of the filmmaking team's personality. Unfortunately, Dan Fogelman's screenplay strains to be ambitious, not just looking at Cal and Emily's marital worries but also creating a roundelay of romantic problems for the peripheral characters in which just about everyone we meet is either pining for someone or is in an unsatisfying relationship.

The exception is Gosling's heartthrob character, but despite the actor's cocky confidence Jacob never transcends clichés. While Jacob's over-the-top talent at seducing women is meant to be a comic exaggeration, his willingness to take Cal under his wing is never satisfactorily explained, nor is his later evolution into a more loving guy fully believable. …

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