Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

In my ongoing mission to find an interesting romantic comedy … Scrap that. How about: In my ongoing mission to watch as many Ryan Gosling films as I can in 2011 (I have managed to watch six so far), I caught Crazy, Stupid, Love at the cheap theatre (where I can still watch a film in a state-of-the-art cinema on Tuesday for $1.75 - Wow - I paid something like $25 to watch a film in Geneva on a Tuesday two weeks ago).

Crazy, Stupid, Love starts strong and ends strong but the first two words of the film’s title sum up the central half of the film, especially the dialogue. Maybe it’s just Steve Carell, who plays the protagonist of the the film. Carell is a very likeable actor and he has done some decent work, but so much of his dialogue (and his character in this film) is not remotely realistic. Sure this is a comedy, but I think it otherwise tries to take itself seriously enough to pretend to have a minimal level of realism. It fails.

The parts of Crazy, Stupid, Love that work do so because of the well-drawn characters and good ensemble cast. Outside of Carell, whose acting was actually fairly good, the acting was not what I would call great but it was solid. Gosling is not at his best here (just compare his performances in Drive or Blue Valentine to see what I mean) but he’s watchable if you can stand to see him topless (men, don’t do it to yourself; women, don’t even think about it). Julianne Moore and Emma Stone are solid. Marisa Tomei has done much better work, as has Kevin Bacon. The only real standout was a young actress by the name of Analeigh Tipton who plays the babysitter.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is, like other films I could mention (you know what I’m talking about), a series of apparently disconnected episodes (with very little flow) about people experiencing challenges in their love-life (or wanna-have love-life). Carell play a man whose wife (Moore) suddenly asks for a divorce because she is sleeping with another man (Bacon). Meanwhile, the son is in love with his babysitter who is in love with his father. And that’s only the beginning. To tell you any more would take away the most interesting parts of the film.

If you are a fan of this genre (and there are obviously many of you), you could do worse than Crazy, Stupid, Love, but I just couldn’t help thinking that if the basic premise and the same characters and actors had been given to a great writer (Dan Fogelman, who did much better with Tangled and Cars, should maybe stay with animated Disney films), this could have been a great romantic comedy instead of just a watchable one. I will give it *** anyway and my mug is up.

1 comment:

  1. Right on the money - very watchable but with several weak points. Personally I was a little tired of the message that personal renewal is based on a fashion makeover(after a taste of something similar in Larry Crowne - though there it was less materialistic). I'd also raise a mug - ***