The romantic comedy is a genre synonymous with tiresome, generic plots. Every other rom-com is the same. Idealistic interpretations of love are depicted by boring, talentless hacks such as Matthew McConaughey too often, but thankfully there are a small number of films that manage to stick out from the crowd. Such as Love and Other Drugs, which hit cinemas earlier this year, along with 2009’s great anti-romance comedy, 500 Days of Summer. Each had their own unique flair, and these few films provided some small credibility to the stale genre.
The latest film to accomplish this is Crazy, Stupid, Love. Boasting a tremendous cast, such as the amiable Steve Carell, the talented Julianne Moore and suave, stylish Ryan Gosling, the film never falls short of talent. Along them we have hit girl, Emma Stone, talented Marisa Tomei and the ever-fantastic Kevin Bacon. Thankfully enough, the film manages all these different characters without even disrupting the pace of the film.
Carell plays straight-laced Cal Weaver, who attempts to start life again after his wife demands a divorce, due to her fatigue over their relationship. However, there’s a few problems which prevent Cal from continuing with his new journey. He’s down on his luck, hopeless and still wearing clothes which are two sizes too big. So, it’s up to Gosling’s womanising Jacob Palmer to reinvent this man. Jacob manages several acquaintances in any given night at the local bar, so it seems necessary for him to lend his extraordinary talents towards Cal in many illustrious and hilarious ways.
Carell has been handed a few dismal roles in the past couple of years, so it’s nice to see him returning to form. Unfortunately he’s been handed some mediocre films as of late, so hopefully this is his return. Carell plays the aspect of a downtrodden man brilliantly, as Cal Weaver comes to terms with the realisation of his boring life. When some fresh juice is pumped into his character, Carrel still manages to perfect a much more confident Cal.
His wife, Emily Weaver is played by Julianne Moore, who is stepping into familiar territory here. Similar to her role in The Kids are Alright, Moore acts as the lovelorn wife who finds solace elsewhere. However, there’s no problem with her reprising that same role. Moore is a fantastic actress, who plays off Carell brilliantly.
The performance that stands out from the ensemble cast is easily Ryan Gosling’s Jacob Palmer. Dressed fashionably, oozing with style, sophistication and charisma, Gosling makes for a perfect metrosexual man. Without Gosling, the film just wouldn’t have done so well. He brings his own unique take to the character effortlessly, as he has done in the past with several other roles. If there’s one character that will be discussed afterwards, it will surely be his.
Their paths take different turns throughout the story, leading to a welcome twist, which further complicates the relationships. The ending doesn’t take any risks, as it follows the standard happy-ending structure of most romantic comedies. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is a distinct chemistry between the actors throughout, so it makes sense. Not much can be said about the hilarious twist that occurs, but it would be advised to steer clear of any of the cast details.
The laughs come thick and fast, as Gosling and Carell carry most of the humour, along with Cal Weaver’s son Robbie, whose infatuation with an older girl makes for some side-splitting scenes. Thankfully this is also layered with subtle emotional themes, which at least gives the film some depth. The characters in this film are essentially human, which works to the film’s advantage.
This is due to the script’s strengths in delivering a romance story with witty, funny dialogue. It balances different elements nicely, ultimately delivering a smart rom-com. It’s nice to see Carell back in action, and the casting of Ryan Gosling is utterly perfect. The film balances a great cast with ease, infusing great writing and hilarity throughout. Crazy, Stupid, Love is thankfully a breath of fresh air, with fantastic leads which surely will be remembered in time.