Crazy, Stupid, Love. Movie Review
Cal (Carell) is shocked when his wife Emily (Moore) tells him she's had an affair and wants a divorce. He has never even dated another woman and has no idea how to start, but one night in a singles' bar the slick womaniser Jacob (Gosling) inexplicably offers to mentor him. But even though he learns quickly, Cal is still hung up on Emily. Meanwhile, Jacob finally meets his match in the spiky-sexy Hannah (Stone), while Cal and Emily's teen son (Bobo) pines after his babysitter (Tipton), who has a crush of her own.
Yes, for these people love is both crazy and stupid, and yet it's also the only thing they really want in life. This simplistic theme kind of undermines the film's otherwise sharp premise, as do two enormous coincidences in the plot, but a serious and surprisingly moving undercurrent adds depth and meaning to the comedy, which makes the various relationships thoroughly involving. And all of the characters are thoroughly entertaining.
Both Carell and Moore add considerable depth to their characters, which makes the story's more farcical situations feel edgy and sometimes raw. This also helps the rest of the cast draw out surprising aspects of their characters; everyone's journey takes an unexpected twist, and even though each person does something pretty awful, no one is unlikable. Even Emily's other man (Bacon) is unexpectedly sympathetic; the only one-note character is Tomei's goofy-bitter teacher. She's also very funny.
Ficarra and Requa direct the film in a seamless way that shifts from broad hilarity to intense emotion without us feeling the gear-change. They keep these complex, imperfect characters so grounded in real life that we can't help but relate to each situation and think about what we would do in their shoes. It may be contrived that everything comes together in the end, but we recognise our own messy romantic lives in the process. And sometimes an amusing wish-fulfilment resolution is just what we need.