The film doesn't compare in grandeur to the advertising campaign.

  • Production year: 2011
  • Cert (UK): 12A
  • Runtime: 118 mins
  • Directors: Glenn Ficarra; John Requa
  • Cast: Emma Stone; Jonah Bobo; Julianne Moore; Kevin Bacon; Liza Lapira; Marisa Tomei; Ryan Gosling; Steve Carell

Summary

The film opens with Cal Weaver (Carell) getting the surprise of his life when his wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce after cheating on him with David Lindhagen (Bacon). This causes Cal’s family life to go into disarray; he moves and declares his story to everyone, making a complete embarrassment of himself. Jacob Palmer (Gosling) sees Cal making a fool of himself and so teaches him how to be a ladies’ man, but is this really what makes Cal happy? Or is he destined for a life of monogamy with Emily?

Verdict

As Glenn Ficarra’s second film, he has paved his way through unorthodox romantic comedy which somehow reflects real life. But is this really what viewers want to see? With his origins in writing Cats and Dogs (2001) and Bad Santa (2003) it is obvious that Ficarra has a flare for being involved in comedy. However certain developments in the plot insinuate a certain ‘cheesy’ or clichéd sense to the film, which ruins the enjoyment of this romantic comedy, and these plot elements have no doubt seeped through from his previous work.

The subtle cinematography and intercutting involved in the opening of the film is actually quite intelligent, as it focuses on the romantic chemistry of couples (no doubt in a romantic restaurant) and feet flirtation (if this term is correct). Then by cutting to Cal and Emily, we see that this chemistry is virtually non-existent. We also see Cal’s bad fashion sense which is exploited later in the film. These elements do not seem essential at first, but help create the picture for a satirical romantic comedy.

There are a few drawbacks to this film, however. Jacob (Gosling) and Hannah (Stone) have great chemistry on screen and are not shown enough for my liking as the storyline focuses on the protagionist Cal. Although Carell is no doubt a good actor he seems to saturate the film rather than let other actors show their ability, and Ficarra seems to altogether forget that Moore is an accredited actress, giving her a less than minor role. I do have to criticize the advertisements for focusing on Gosling when he is not an essential part of the film – the topless aspect does help sell the film to girls but it’s not an accurate representation of the story.

This film is almost like a new version of Love Actually, where the characters struggle with their own romantic problems before somehow all coming together by the end of the film. It is an unfortunately predictable ending, but what I expected from a romantic comedy; if I had received another ending I probably would have given the film a lower rating than it I did.

As a nice, unchallenging and relaxing film, Crazy, Stupid, Love is fun to watch but for those seeking intellectual satisfaction rather than entertainment this probably isn’t the film for you.

5/10