DIR: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa • WRI: Dan Fogelman • PRO: Steve Carell, Denise Di Novi • DOP: Andrew Dunn • ED: Lee Haxall • DES: William Arnold • CAST: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore
Billed with the over-wordy description of ‘romantic comedy-drama’, this is a film that is thus hard to categorise. Most ad campaigns have focused on the comedy aspect – especially Ryan Gosling, an erstwhile ‘serious’ actor, hamming it up as a successful lothario. However, overemphasis on the comedy element belies the real undercurrent of dramatic acting that Crazy, Stupid, Love actually showcases. Cal and Emily Weaver’s long-standing marriage fractures due to infidelity and boredom, allowing Julianne Moore and Steve Carell to deliver truly adult performances of devastation and confusion. In the concurrent storyline, Ryan Gosling’s philandering Jacob is discovered to have a fatal weakness, exploited by Emma Stone’s beautifully naive Hannah.
That’s not to say that there are not some stand-out comic moments, often provided by supporting characters which include Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon. More often than not, though, the laugh-out-loud scenes are orchestrated by young Robbie (Jonah Bobo), playing a teenager refusing to give up on love despite his parents break-up. The romance and the drama do, however, overtake the comedy, and a better description of the movie – though looking less fantastic on posters – would be the even more wordy ‘romantic drama with comedic moments’. Steve Carell has, a lá Will Ferrell, basically been playing himself in every movie – down on his luck, but kind hearted…the eternal loser who eventually makes good, and Crazy, Stupid, Love is no exception. For both Moore and Gosling, the drama comes easy, and their presence onscreen is always guaranteed to draw you into their world. For Carell and Stone, however, the drama comes less flowingly – for actors used to exercising their comedic chops on a regular basis, it takes some reigning in to stop scenes from becoming hammy and clichéd. It is to both actors’ credit, however, that they manage to do so with the least amount of fuss, and allow their characters to simply ‘be’.
It’s not a perfect movie, but solid performances mean that it is consistently entertaining, and has a sweetness about it that will ensure a smile. There are some nice twists and turns, some very funny moments, but mostly this is a romance that borrows from drama and comedy to fluff up what is, essentially, an age-old tale. Don’t go expecting either Superbad or The Notebook, and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you quite like this middle-ground between the two.
Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Crazy, Stupid Love is released on 23rd September 2011