Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)

It’s almost criminal how long it’s taking for critically acclaimed films to arrive here in Australia. Meanwhile, The Thing prequel and Paranormal Activity 3 are either out or due in a couple of days. Whilst Australia waits patiently for Drive, the nation is comforted that we can get our Ryan Gosling fix in rom-com, Crazy, Stupid Love

Crazy, Stupid Love follows several people who intercut each other’s lives though one way or another. It’s like Crash but with jokes and less of the whole racism thing. At the centre of the spaghetti junction is Steve Carrell as a put upon businessmen who finds out that his wife, Julianne Moore, has slept with Kevin Bacon and wants a divorce. Seeking solace in a trendy nightspot, Carrell meets, and is subsequently taken under the wing by, Ryan Gosling’s Lothario.  Gosling’s mission? To help Carrell locate his balls and sleep around. Whilst Carrell is learning to be sleaze, Gosling has his attentions set on Emma Stone, though are his intentions all they appear to be?

The stand out performance award goes to Gosling who is sublime as the strutting penis on legs, Jacob Palmer. With shades of Tom Cruise in Magnolia, he sees women as the enemy, something to be conquered. ‘The minute they started pole dancing for exercise,’ he barks at Carrell during a session of weight lifting ‘They lost the war’.

The resolution of his character is nothing new, but you’re happy to be taken on the journey as he slowly creates a monster in Carrell and questions his own identity as a result. His scenes with Emma Stone in the third act are also a particular highlight of mine, as they open themselves up to each other over the course of an evening.

The direction is an odd beast. It feels like a Wes Anderson movie, which contrasts with its Judd Apatow-lite script. Crazy, Stupid Love is a knowing film as well. It’s aware of the rom-com conventions, but unlike Love and Other Disasters, it doesn’t actively signpost them to annoyance. It has some wonderful comic set-pieces, Carrell bumping into a previous night stand whilst at a parent’s evening with his ex-wife is played brilliantly. The back garden party when the film’s numerous plot-lines literally crash into each other stays in the memory long after it was over.

Crazy, Stupid Love is neither ground breaking nor as intelligent as it thinks it is. And that’s about the worst thing you can say because what it is, is a solid competent comedy with a thin vein of drama that doesn’t steer it into the horrendous dramedy category (not funny enough to be a comedy, not serious to be a drama). God knows, I hate a dramedy. It is sweet natured movie about good people, even if they appear to be from the get go.

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