Home > Movies, Reviews > Review: All-star cast turns the cute, sexy and smart ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ into one of the summer’s biggest winners

Review: All-star cast turns the cute, sexy and smart ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ into one of the summer’s biggest winners

As much as I want to begin by talking about Steve Carell (one of the most likable lead actors you can find) or Julianne Moore or Emma Stone or Kevin Bacon, it’s inescapable not to start with Ryan Gosling. Aided by a smarter-than-your-average-romantic comedy script written by Dan Fogelman, the 30-year-old Hollywood hunk gives the best performance of his career as the womanizing Jacob in ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’

Over the course of two hours — and much less screen time than Carell — Gosling predictably turns his character from womanizer to love-stricken. The surprise is how funny he is. In fact, Gosling upstages Carell in just about every scene the two share.

To be fair to Carell, some of that likely has to do with the character he plays — the suddenly-single Cal Weaver, a middle-aged family man somewhat simliar to Carell’s character in the touching ‘Dan in Real Life.’ His wife Emily (Moore) asks for a divorce after sleeping with co-worker David Lindhagen (Bacon). This leads to a meeting between Cal and Jacob at a fancy bar, in which Jacob proposes to teach Cal his womanizing ways. It all sounds pretty basic, but there’s actually three love stories here: the aforementioned broken marriage, Jacob’s love-at-first-sight attraction to a young woman (Stone) at the same bar, and Cal and Emily’s 13-year-old son’s (Jonah Bobo) addiction to his babysitter (Analeigh Tipton).

Instead of being the funnyman in every scene, Carell is asked to drive the movie, leaving plenty of room for his co-stars to deliver tremendous performances. By the time the separated-Cal is having one-night stands, his wife is coming to the realization that she’s made the biggest mistake of her life. Of course, that’s just another excellent day at work for Julianne Moore. Meanwhile, Emma Stone’s star continues to shine brighter and brighter. In this outing, she comes to her own realization that maybe she really has found her Prince Charming.

In smaller roles, Marisa Tomei seemingly has fun playing a crazy — er, driven-crazy — woman that ends up one of Cal’s one-night stands, and Kevin Bacon comes off less as a guy ruining a marriage as a guy just wanting love like everyone else. Truthfully, there’s really not a character here you don’t feel for. Additionally, it’s a credit to Jonah Bobo’s acting that you’ll be rooting for a 13-year-old by the film’s end.

And through all its twists and turns, ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ isn’t nearly as predictable as other rom-coms. Even if it was predictable, the payoff of everything coming together rewards the viewer with a hilarious slapstick scene that I won’t soon forget.

No, the film doesn’t exactly breathe new life back into a cliche-filled genre. But it is cute, sexy, and — most of all — smart. Add in its professional and truly humorous cast (especially Gosling), and ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ is immensely enjoyable.

9/10

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