Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crazy Stupid Love = Crazy Stupid Guys

The movie Crazy Stupid Love has been getting a lot of play this summer.
The title is clever.
The story involves modern relationships. It's a comedy. And it's got great stars: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and (surprise!) Josh Groban in a non-singing role.
And the movie does have some genuinely funny moments.
But this flick should really be titled Crazy Stupid GUYS because at heart it's just another stupid guys movie. The guys in this movie are really depicted as dumb, dumb, dumb and dumber. And there's absolutely nothing original about that.
The movie begins with the divorce of the characters played by Carell and Moore and it ends with their reconciliation, sot of. Carell plays his typical nerdy/schlumpy/somewhat clueless role but remains nonetheless appealing, if not downright lovable. Moore is full of doubt, angst, and sometimes breathless intensity. She wants a divorce but we never really understand (beyond her own boredom) exactly why. Groban plays a lawyer/jerk; Tomei plays an all-but-deranged, sex-crazed middle school teacher; Bacon is a co-worker who Moore has an affair with and Gosling is little more than a hunky babe magnet until the very end when he suddenly becomes loving, sensitive and almost painfully three-dimensional, falling in love with Stone who plays Carell and Moore's daughter.
Thrown into all this is the couple's precocious and terminally annoying 13-year-old son played by Jonah Bobo.
The players do the most with what they have. But it's not much.
It is fun to watch the broad comic acting of Carell, Tomei and Gosling, however. Carell just has a way of bringing modern-day relationships to life, triggering knowing nods and real bellylaughs. Tomei is a classic comic actress who would have been great in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. And Gosling beings a lot more than eye-candy to what might have been a paper-thin role.
But all this is just not enough. Not for me, anyway.

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