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Heather's DVD Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love
Is it possible to find a genuine lasting relationship with someone for the rest your life? For some, forever isn't as long as they'd like to be. That's the premise of the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, now on DVD.
Crazy, Stupid, Love followed long time married couple Cal (Steve Carrell) and Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) who hit a crossroads in their decades long marriage. They become strangers in their own relationship and ignored the signs for too long. Emily is having an affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon) and Cal gives up without a fight. She wants a divorce and he moves out without hesitation. Cal feels lost and heads to a singles bar where everyone ignores him, except for resident playboy Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who decides to help Cal regain his lost manhood. He gives him a fashion and confidence makeover. Soon he meets a beautiful woman (Marisa Tomei) who takes to his newfound charms and could prove to be a complication for him down the line. Soon, Cal is embracing Jacob's lifestyle, except that his teacher found a potential girlfriend in tough talking lawyer Hannah (Emma Stone) who sees right through Jacob's charms. She initially rejects his advances, but starts to see him in another light. Emily and Cal are starting to reject their impending divorce, but they hit a major roadblock towards reconciling. Can Emily and Cal learn how to love again through Jacob and Hannah's new relationship?
In terms of plot, Love had a lot going for it, but sometimes there was too much going on that took away from the stellar plots that worked (Cal and Emily, Jacob and Hannah etc) and focused too much on the ones that didn't (Robbie's crush on his babysitter). The one subplot that could've been left on the cutting room floor was the one where the Weaver's Babysitter Jessica (AnnaLeigh Tipton) had a crush on Cal and created naked pictures for him. Even though audiences knew it would never happen, it was still uncomfortable to watch nonetheless. The multiple plots also left some stars in seemingless more minor roles than the previews let on. Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon were basically used as disposable plot points to drive the main stories along. Tomei has come a long way from her My Cousin Vinny Oscar win, but she should be a leading lady in her own right instead of being a minor supporting player. In the end, it is sometimes better to have a small role in a decent movie than a leading role in a less than stellar one.
In terms of the acting, Carrell played his signature nice guy who is clueless in the ways of love to perfection. No one can sell that role better than he does. He had a genuine rapport with Gosling and Moore, but it was his scenes with Gosling that really sold his character. The audience saw Carrell as the yin to Gosling's yang. Moore tried her best to make the unfaithful Emily likable and she succeeded on most fronts, except for the fact that Emily cheated to get Cal to notice her. There were less extreme ways to get attention and that wasn't one of them. The movie's real revelations were Stone's exuberant performance as a smart girl who needed someone to shake her up and Gosling's surprisingly comedic turn as a funny man. His subtle cool was played to perfection and made what could've been a cliched playboy role actually surprisingly funny. Now, that's something to laugh about.
Verdict: A standard romantic comedy movie with a great cast that is funny but burdened by too many subplots to fully shine.
DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)