August 1, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
Just one week after Friends With Benefits, a romantic comedy that at times tried to parody its own genre, is another romcom that’s supposed to break the tired genre’s rules: Crazy, Stupid, Love. Crazy? At its best, most definitely. Stupid? Sometimes, but not overall. Love? I’ll have to settle for a “like” here.
From the writers of Bad Santa and The Bad News Bears remake, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s sophomore effort after their debut together, the zany biopic I Love You Phillip Morris. Their latest collaboration features Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon as headliners.
Trailers for Crazy, Stupid, Love. centered on a jaded family man who rebounds from his troubled marriage by receiving dating and pick-up lessons from a younger, smooth-talking womanizer. Although this turns out to be only one of several subplots, it ultimately is one of Crazy, Stupid, Love.‘s major strengths. Steve Carell doesn’t miss a step in his role; it’s as if his character from Dan in Real Life walked into a PG-13 version of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He’s a pleasure to watch, especially with Ryan Gosling, whose character is like a screenwritten manifestation of his “Hey, Girl” meme.
As for the rest of Crazy, Stupid, Love., a couple of the subplots and the characters involved in them are difficult to tolerate. The last half hour or so was mostly unnecessary and should have been dropped or abridged; this would have made for a much better epilogue following a riotous climax, the film’s hilarious highlight and maybe the best moment in any of the writer/director duo’s movies. Compared to their previous films, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a bit light on the crazy and heavy on the stupid. Its attempt to stand out among formulaic romcoms is a delightful success, but it’s not without some flaws. Crazy, Stupid, Love. gets 3.0 out of 5 stars or B- or Good.