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Crazy, Stupid, Love - Movie Review By A.D.Harris

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(taken from theadamharris.com)

As you may have deduced from the title, Crazy, Stupid, Love is a film that focuses on every aspect there is revolving around the L word. Whether it is love for family, friends, peers, colleagues or acquaintances this film wraps them all together into a story that stretches and weaves in ways that are both expected and not. What does surprise is how grounded in reality and how seriously it tackles the subject matter at times. This isn't a dumbed down romantic comedy, the type you see on weekly basis littering DVD stores and cinema screens. This is the romantic comedy that you get once or twice a year; the one which really deserves the bigger audience and the critical praise.

Despite the large ensemble of talent that surrounds its advertising campaign, the film largely follows Steve Carell in his first mainstream role since departing The Office in May. Carell is an actor whose talents brighten even the sourest of movies, even if he added his loveable and unique persona to 'Hellraiser' he would have made horror have a little humour. Here, playing Cal Weaver, he is firing on all cylinders as his characters dream life shatters around him when wife Emily decides that she wants a divorce. Throughout, Carell applies his charm to just the right level, never risking over-acting for a laugh but rather letting the script do the work for him. Cal is understated and subtle and because of this he is always entertaining and likeable despite some of his more dubious actions in the middle third. Add into the mix the fact that Cal also draws in most of the laugh out loud moments that Crazy, Stupid, Love offers then you should have a good idea how strong a leading figure he is for the film. Having such an anchor really drives the story onwards and it makes the film feel much stronger as a result.

Surrounding Carrell is as a group of actors who all consolidate the sharp and witty screenplay, driving out some career boosting performances in the process. Julianne Moore, often forgotten when roles that she suits come along shows exactly why Ridley Scott rated her highly enough to fill Jodie Foster's shoes with a truly believable and saddening performance as Cal's wife. Whilst Emily has done things that are frowned upon, cheating on her husband the most glaring, Moore keeps Emily's hunger and drive to find out what she wants with her life clear and visible. Wit every look of despair, confusion and anguish she provides the audience with the sorrow needed to root for her throughout.

Also on display is another star turn from Emma Stone in a supporting role with plenty of depth. She creates a lots of empathy and sympathy for Hannah and as her character's importance to the storyline emerges it makes for wicked fun. Marisa Tomei is also excellent as Cal's first success at dating after his breakup. Sexy, funny and slightly over the top she makes for some of the most awkwardly funny moments and has several scenes that stick out in the memory once the credits have finished rolling.

With Carell and the usual suspects delivering what is expected of them, it is up to Ryan Gosling to reach his a-game. Gosling, best known period romance The Notebook and his Academy Award nominated turn in Half Nelson, continues on his path to show just how talented he is. Jacob Palmer is a womanising player who makes it his aim to bed a new woman every night. In lesser hands he could have been the stereotype this film was trying to avoid, but he manages to add complexity to his actions, and as the story progresses his character reveals more depth that is believable because of how Gosling creates him. It works, and at times Gosling manages to upstage his more experienced peers, sharing a scene with Emma Stone that is the most memorable of the entire film. Unquestionably cool, yet undeniably complex, Jacob Palmer may have the outer appearance of every rom-com male lead but he is much more fleshed out and complex.

Newcomers Jonah Bobo and Analeigh Tipton as Cal's son and babysitter are given a slightly edgy but entertaining sub-plot that works well to create the ensemble feel that Crazy, Stupid, Love aims for. They also get a chance to pack in drama with comedy and for actors new to the scene it is great to see them succeed.

Throughout Crazy, Stupid, Love's relatively long running time, especially for a romantic comedy, it does hit a few lulls. There is no denying that around the middle section the story loses its grip on the audience and not much happens that is worthy of note. There is a lot of important and sobering moments for the characters as the script begins to wrap itself up but for ten minutes you are willing directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa to pick up the pace. Thankfully, once Cal and the rest of the characters have decided that they are going to fight for their love the film takes a fantastically clever twist that results in one of the funniest fight scenes of recent years. It's from this point onwards that Crazy, Stupid, Love consolidates its place as the best romantic comedy of the year.

The final climax may swing close to the formulaic and cheesy, but by this point you truly believe in every character and you are willing them all to have their happy endings. Whilst every storyline doesn't leave you jumping for joy, there is no denying that every character gets the closure their performance warrants. There is also no question that the film gives an ending that is true to its real life roots. It leaves everything poised for your imaginations to work out what is in store for these characters in the future.

So whilst it doesn't break new grounds in the message it is sending, by drawing into a screenplay that hasn't been made to feel "Hollywood" but rather feel closer to real life Crazy, Stupid, Love presents all the same messages we've seen hundreds of times before in a refreshing way. It is because of this that it truly stands out.

So it is a little bit crazy, it is a little bit stupid, but it has a lot of love.

In terms of a romantic comedy, you couldn't ask for anything more...



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Find all my Movie Reviews here: http://www.theadamharris.com/p/movie-reviews.html

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