“Crazy, Stupid, Love” Movie Review

     "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is part drama and part comedy held together by a tight well written script by Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled) and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa).  Though a familiar story, it's not necessarily a realistic one, but it will hold your attention and eventually keep you guessing as the characters lives are intertwined in ways you won't see coming.

     As Cal Weaver, Steve Carell plays a guy in his mid 40's who feels he has a pretty good life.  He's married, has a good job, and wonderful kids, but that life soon comes crashing down.  While on an awkward feeling dinner date with his wife Emily, played by Julianne Moore, she divulges that she wants a divorce and has cheated on him with someone she works with. As this would any man, Cal finds himself in a tailspin and is forced to move into an apartment, now only seeing his kids during occasional visits.

     Cal begins to frequent a local bar and is approached one night by Jacob, played by Ryan Gosling, who immediately begins to take him on as a project of sorts.  Jacob has no problem night after night picking up women and taking them home with him and he sees Cal as someone in desperate need of a makeover so he can do the same.  After a shopping trip and a few lessons, Cal begins to live up the single life, yet he's still depressed with his situation.  He misses Emily and wants so bad to be back with his family even though she cheated on him.  He's so desperate that he's shown sneaking into the back yard of his former house in the middle of the night to do yard work, while observing Emily through the windows.

     There are several interesting sub plots in this very complex story. Cal and Emily's 13 year old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has a major crush on his 17 year old babysitter Jessica (Tipton).  This part of the story makes for a great sidebar throughout since Robbie is relentless in his pursuit even with the age difference.  There are so many other subplots in the film, but I can't get into them without spoiling some of the outcomes.  I will tell you the film also stars Emma Stone as an up and coming attorney looking for the right guy.  Marisa Tomei has a hilarious and sometimes over the top role as one of Cal's conquests and even Kevin Bacon joins the fun as the aforementioned co-worker of Emily's.  If one actor stands out in the film, it would be Ryan Gosling.  After seeing him get snubbed recently in last years "Blue Valentine", it was refreshing to see him excel in such a comedic role.  He really plays up the cool factor and successfully carries the film throughout.  The best scenes in the film always included him, especially the back and forth banter during Cal’s transformation from boring man to lady’s man.

     Crazy, Stupid, Love is one of those film's that comes together as a result of a solid cast given a solid story and plenty of interesting things to say.  We usually don't get that kind of quality during the summertime as those types of film's are normally reserved for Oscar season.  I'm not saying this film will be Oscar caliber, but it does serve as a solid summer comedy you likely will tell your friends about.  I see it as kind of a "The Kids Are All Right" and "40 Year Old Virgin" hybrid that effectively explores the many forms a relationship can take.  You see the doldrums of pending divorce, the simplicity of the one night stand, the innocence of a boy hood crush, and how all of these relationships coexist together in one family.  The film covers so much ground in this area,  there will likely be no one who couldn't relate to one of these relationship scenarios. In other words, we've all been there at one time or another.  GRADE: B+