Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Crazy, Stupid, Love
Love can be a noun or a verb. It’s never typically used as an adjective. I never find myself saying, “That fruit smoothie was certainly love.” That said, I actually struggled with the title, Crazy, Stupid, Love, knowing full well that you really only need to separate the Crazy and Stupid with a comma, since those are the modifiers (i.e. adjectives) and love is the concept (i.e. noun). Then it hit me. They’re not describing love as anything. It’s just playing word association. In order to be in love, you must be a) Crazy and/or b) Stupid. Or maybe love makes you those two things. In this Steve Carrell vehicle, the latter is almost certainly true.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is the story of one relationship that is ending and another that is beginning. Carrell’s Cal has discovered that his wife, played by Julianne Moore, has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Upon moving out, Cal discovers a new lifestyle of drinking and romancing thanks to Ryan Gosling’s Jacob. They begin to have an influence on how the other views relationships, which causes Jacob to start pursuing something meaningful with Emma Stone’s Hannah. Along the way you get snippets of a puppy love stricken babysitter and the young Lothario wannabe who longs to be with her.
I try not to editorialize too often in my pieces, but I have to break that barrier to gush a bit regarding one of the performances. Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite young actors working today. He has amazing versatility and crushes every role he undertakes. Period. That said, he did not fail to amaze in this film. His libertine counterpart to Carrell’s romantically impotent clown was perfect at every turn. Whether he was berating Carrell for being less than a man or romancing Stone on the side, he was nothing less than incredible. Not to take away from any other performance, but he stole each and every scene he was in. Every actor, even the younger child actors, did a fantastic job, but Gosling was truly the one to watch.
The film progresses as expected, leaving very few surprises. It relies heavily on coincidental encounters and misunderstandings, but it does not damage the story in any way. For the type of film it is, it runs a bit long, with certain scenes being dragged out for effect. Certain moments were carried out to the fullest extent the scene could be, while others were cut short or made into montage sequences. Other than that the story is gripping enough and the comedy substantial enough to keep the audience connected throughout.
Crazy, Stupid, Love has some of the the best, subtle comedy you will see all year. With so many in your face (alright Carrell’s face does get pretty close to Gosling’s man bits) and overt comedies out there, it was nice to watch a thinking man’s comedy. I don’t think the marketing of the film really conveys that, since they focus on some of the more “pop culture” friendly moments, but it really is a more profound and refined comedy than others that hit this summer. Crazy, Stupid, Love is adjectives and I truly did verb it very much.
Posted on October 31, 2011, in Devil's DVD Advocacy and tagged Crazy Stupid Love, Dan Fogelman, DVD, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.