Crazy, Stupid, Love., by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the makers of I Love You Phillip Morris, begins rather cynically. Cal (Steve Carell), a boring and insipid insurance man who wears Gap and has a “Supercuts” haircut, gets to know that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has had an affair with her colleague (Kevin Bacon) and wants a divorce.
Cal is numbed by the news. Shocked and angry, he leaves his wife and children to live in a separate house. At the bar, where he knocks back drinks, he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who is always in designer threads and goes home with a new girl from the bar every night. A subplot involves an aspiring lawyer (Emma Stone) with a geeky, obnoxious boyfriend.
Male bonding: Steve Carell (left) and Ryan Gosling in the film.
Cal’s attempts to get a life, helped by his credit card and Jacob’s eagerness to tutor him to be a babe magnet, are often hilarious. Carell is not the raunchy-sweet-guy loser we’ve seen in the Judd Apatow comedies. In the second half, when he is disillusioned with quick love, his character takes on a different vein. Carell’s performance is charmingly convincing.
We also get glimpses of Jacob’s sad life—the gloss of his social life, supplemented by his inherited wealth. Gosling, a mercurial actor, brings out some nuances in an otherwise monotone character.
Unlike most Hollywood romcoms, in which the momentum of the first half dips as the story progresses, Crazy, Stupid, Love. has some genuinely funny scenes towards the end. The subplot of the lawyer is justified because of her role in eventually changing the fortunes of the main characters. It is neither a laugh-out-loud comedy, nor is the humour wry or intelligent. There are climactic lapses into silly histrionics, like a speech by Cal on love at his teenage son’s graduation ceremony. Just as you think things are beginning to flow, the plot comes to a jerky halt and the film becomes predictable thereafter.
Subplot: Emma Stone.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is not a romcom made with only women in mind. Nor is it a raunchy boys’ comedy—thankfully, despite the superficial male bonding. The cynicism inherent in the story, on which the first half of the film runs, is a slow but effective hook. But, ultimately, the lead performances are reason enough to watch this film, although even the smaller ones, like a teenage babysitter in love with Cal, get their due.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. released in theatres on Friday.