CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE
Starring Steve Carell,
Directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Written by Dan Fogelman
Running time 118 mins.
Steve Carell does an excellent job being very Steve Carell-ish in a story about a middle-aged man (Carell) whose wife (Moore) decides to leave him.
To complicate things, they have kids. Their thirteen year-old son (Bobo) has a crush on the babysitter (Tipton), who has a crush on Carell, who in turn finds that his wife also cheated on him with a coworker played by Kevin Bacon.
Meanwhile, a smooth dude (Gosling) overhears in a bar Carell’s character bemoaning being a cuckold, and so takes him under his Henry Higgins-ish wing–a veritable “Pig Male-ian,” if you will.
That kind of thing we’ve seen too often. There was a movie just a couple years ago with Will Smith pulling the same basic trip on Kevin James. We’ve seen it a thousand times in sitcoms from the last fifty years. Some poor idiot gets a conventional makeover and winds up looking just right for a catalog. That’s what makes this movie being so entertaining such a surprise.
The very thing that makes “Crazy, Stupid, Love” work as well as it does is also almost what undoes it. Plausibility doesn’t merely come into question, it gets up and jumps out the window. Thereby coming dangerously close to impairing the film.
For example–and I’ll remain deliberately vague to not spoil the film–there are certain things that thirteen year-olds have not ever said, not once, and will not say, ever, particularly in public.
Also, during junior high graduation ceremonies, thirteen year-olds not only don’t get to speak indefinitely, and extemporaneously, they don’t want to. And especially nobody wants any kid’s dad doing that. No way any audience sits still, at a graduation or anywhere else, while some kid’s dad takes the mike and starts speaking extemporaneously indefinitely.
Sappy implausibility aside, a strong ensemble cast and an intricate script form the overall impression. “American Beauty” meets “The 40 Year-Old Virgin”? Well, it’s not that, but sort of close.
Carell excels at creating likeable characters who bounce back from adversity. I’d like to see him doing something totally different. He should be a vain, cruel man who doesn’t bounce back from anything at all. Sort of a modern-day King Kong, perhaps.
Something to consider.