If you are looking for a film that brings you comedy, romance and a wonderful amount of cheesiness, then Crazy Stupid Love should fit the bill nicely. Starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, it has all the elements that make a great film for a girly night in or some romantic, light-hearted Valentine’s Day viewing.
Written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy Stupid Love has echoes of Love Actually as it follows multiple love stories. However, it has a more realistic edge to it and the comedic moments are brilliantly updated.
Steve Carell’s plays Cal Weaver, an unfortunate man whose life is falling apart. This is the sort of role we’ve come to expect of Carrell recently, he seems to have carved out a niche as the awkward character who you root for even when he keeps doing stupid things. It all started when he starred in the American version of The Office, but he plays these likeable losers well and gets us all laughing, so why not?
When Cal’s childhood sweetheart, played by Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven), says she wants a divorce he does not know where to turn. Until, that is, he turns to the bar where Ryan Gosling’s character reigns supreme over the ladies. Gosling is Jacob Palmer, the polar opposite to Cal. If Cal is a lady’s man whose lady has left him bereft, The Notebook actor is all suave sexiness as a smooth-talking ladies man. Emma Stone’s character puts it more simply, he’s the “hot guy from the bar”.
Jacob takes Cal through a transformation in both clothes and attitude. He teaches him the ways of the smooth-talker, while taking home countless women of course, until he realises that he may have learned a few things himself from Cal. Luckily for us, Jacob is likeable and isn’t too self-obsessed to crack some great jokes. He takes his role as ladies man very seriously though and wears a flashy ring and sports rock-hard abs – which prompt Stone’s character to exclaim, “Seriously? It’s like you’re photoshopped!” Carrell and Gosling bounce off each other well. The laughs are surprisingly funny, so much so that some feel as though they could have been improvised on the spot.
Meanwhile, Cal’s wife Emily is involved in her own teetering relationship with David Lindhagen, who is played by Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class). They slept together once, prompting her to want a divorce from Cal. However, it is clear that moving on from her husband to her office co-worker will not be as simple as she may have thought. Their relationship is like most of the others in the show – awkward yet somehow containing a fuzzy centre. Then we have Cal and Emily’s 13-year-old son Robbie who is played by Jonah Bobo. He is in love with his babysitter, played by Analeigh Tipton. Unfortunately for Robbie however, that babysitter is 17 and in love with Cal who has no idea until, well…let’s just say hilarity ensues with some fantastic twists and turns.
While Crazy Stupid Love is not your typical cheesy romantic comedy, that is a good thing. It manages to find the right balance between comedy and reality, while still being a fantastic feel-good film in its own way. The cheesiness is handled skilfully and avoids being too annoying: it is very refreshing to be able to laugh out loud at a romcom without cringing at its predictability. There are so many great lines in this film that just keep coming, making perfect quoting material. If you want to be able to practice, you can pre-order it now on Blu-ray and DVD, before it is released on 30th January.