CRAZY, STUPID, LOVEStarring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Most romantic comedies skip over real human moments, favouring a glossy panache of formulaic plots, stereotypes in place of characters and ridiculous cliches. But now there’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, a film so full of spark, heart and bittersweet moments, it practically hugs your insides.
Cal (Steve Carell) is a chinos-and-running-shoes kind of guy facing single life after finding out his wife of 25 years, Emily (Julianne Moore), cheated on him with David, her coworker (Kevin Bacon). Cal takes up residency at a bar where Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a flashy ladies’ man, takes him under his wing. But, after successfully transforming Cal, Jacob falls for Hannah (Emma Stone) and the professor becomes the student. Sort of. Rounding out this mix is Cal and Emily’s 13-year-old son, the wise-beyond-his-years Robbie (Jonah Bobo), madly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who happens to be in love with Cal.
Love has its share of “only in the movies!’ misunderstandings, but Dan Fogelman’s witty, emotionally intelligent script provides a great foundation for what is easily the best ensemble cast in recent memory. Bobo is the heart and soul of the film and Tipton, surprisingly natural, is hands down the best thing to have ever come out of America’s Next Top Model (she placed third in the 2008 cycle). Carell continues to demonstrate his understanding of the nimble line between drama and comedy, and Gosling somehow makes sleazy seem charming before skillfully transitioning to vulnerable. The two share a phenomenal rapport, with each other as well as with Stone and Moore.
It helps that no character — even the philanderers — are relegated to “villain” status. The foils are normal, everyday flaws — circumstance, confidence, time — which makes a lovely change from more traditional Hollywood fare. A romantic comedy that’s warm, funny and raw? To borrow a line from the film itself, Crazy, Stupid, Love is a game changer. —Andrea Warner