Very few romantic comedies made today are worth your time. Crazy, Stupid Love by Glen Ficarra (Focus, I Love You Phillip Morris) and John Requa (Focus, I Love You Phillip Morris) is the rare exception. It is a film that shows the any sides of love including the bad times. With that recipe plus the acting talent of Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling you get one of the best romantic comedies of the second decade of this millennium. It is certainly not generic and filled with pleasant unexpected surprises.
Out to dinner one evening, middle aged couple Cal (Steve Carell – Foxcatcher, Date Night) and Emily (Julianne Moore – Still Alice, The End of the Affair) have anything but your typical meal. Emily just blurts out in the middle of dinner that she is not happy and wants a divorce. Depressed Cal begins to withdraw from life. He cries a lot and starts hanging out at a bar drinking. His blubbering discourses to the bartender are noticed by the local lothario, Jacob (Ryan Gosling – The Notebook, Blue Valentine).
Now Jacob does not feel sorry for Cal rather he is annoyed and disgusted by his sad sack behaviour. The young, handsome, well dressed and great with the ladies guy takes Cal under his wing showing his all his best moves.
Love seems to be on everyone’s mind. Emily tries to start a relationship with the man (Kevin Bacon – Footloose, Mystic River) from her office that she slept with while with Cal. Cal and Emily’s teenage son Robbie (Jonah Bobo – Choke) falls hard for the family babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton – Lucy, The Green Hornet), an older girl he goes to high school with. The most unlikely coupling happens after Hannah (Emma Stone – The Help, Birdman) breaks up with her boyfriend Richard (Josh Groban – Muppets Most Wanted) and captures the heart of devoted bachelor, Jacob.
It will remind a lot of viewers of the films Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as everything proves to be interrelated in the end. Make no mistake though as this film is tons better than those two films. Rather than be generic and packed with too many characters the directors manage to devote enough screen time to each fleshing out the characters and stories enough that you become invested in each one.
The strongest suit of the film is how unconventional it is. Not afraid to tread upon previously unexplored territory Crazy, Stupid Love is not afraid to tell a different kind of love story. Stereotypes are not resorted to nor are easy way outs. As such the film has a unique and original feel to it. All in all it feels rather realistic.