Emotions get messy in Crazy, Stupid, Love

Carl Bachus | Collegio Reporter

Love. It can be a many-splendored thing or a many-splintered thing. At least that is what screenwriter Dan Fogelman would like you to believe. His latest effort, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” follows three couples as they interact with one another and share the woes of lost love, and unrequited love.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a pencil pusher, gets the shock of a lifetime when his wife (Julianne Moore) tells him she cheated with one of her co-workers (Kevin Bacon). Completely distraught, he seeks advice on regaining his manhood from an obnoxiously successful ladies’ man, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In the midst of Cal’s re-evaluation and reinvention of his life, Jacob meets an attractive young lawyer named Hannah (“Easy A’s” Emma Stone). Meanwhile, Cal’s son (Jonah Bobo) is falling for his baby sitter (Analeigh Tipton), who has a crush on Cal.

Love was helmed by the writer-director team Glen Ficarra and John Requa. Fogelman proves to be a versatile writer, tackling a melancholy romantic comedy-drama after penning the two “Cars” films. Renaissance duo Ficarra and Requa’s direction is also on point, keeping with their style (“I Love You Phillip Morris,” “Bad Santa”), but also brings some new techniques to the table.

Carell slides effortlessly into his role of a romantically challenged everyman, never missing a comedic or dramatic beat. Gosling and Stone complement each other perfectly, with his cool demeanor and her signature ingénue performance. Moore’s performance works well enough, but she doesn’t work the line between comedy and drama as well as Carell or Stone. Other noteworthy performances include Marisa Tomei as a promiscuous teacher with whom Cal becomes associated and singer Josh Groban as Hannah’s boyfriend.

Blu-ray features include two featurettes, one on Carell and Gosling and another on Gosling and Stone, plus a plethora of deleted scenes. The DVD edition includes only  the deleted scenes. However, both editions include an UltraViolet digital copy that streams instantly to your computer or iPod.

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Verdict: The film is an unusual romantic comedy that manages to be sweet, but never sappy. It’s not the best, but it certainly knows its audience. The execution is welcome, harkening back to the rom-coms of yore that didn’t rely on toilet humor or slapstick to engage its viewers. With the able performances, a witty script and commendable direction, I recommend a buy.  Crazy, Stupid, Love is available to rent and own now.

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