Everyone must know at least something about love, right? Most people don’t want to talk about it while all the youngsters think that’s all they want. Being a helpless romantic is probably even harder. All we want is to find that one somebody to wake up next to for the rest of our lives. Seems like an odd subject matter at first coming from the writers of the Billy Bob Thornton-starring Bad News Bears and Bad Santa and directors of I Love You, Phillip Morris, along with their throwaway kid flick Cats & Dogs.
Yet if you’ve actually seen Phillip Morris you’ll know right away that an examination of love in all the wrong (and right) places isn’t too big of a stretch for Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, for there’s always been at least a little bit of heart in place. OK, maybe not so much with Bears, but even Santa had a reasonable change of heart after dealing with the likes of Thurman Merman and his crazy grandmother.
In Crazy, Stupid, Love. we find two very different men at two very opposite ends of the love spectrum. Cal (Steve Carell) loves his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) possibly too much. While she decides to announce she wants a divorce when all he wants is crème brûlée, he gives her what she wants. So much so that while she nervously chats away on the ride home he tuck and rolls out the passenger door. Talk about fight or flight.
Meanwhile, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) is living the life of luxury, bedding one woman after the next. All except for one Hannah (Emma Stone), that is. She only has eyes for her boyfriend Richard (Josh Groban) because he’s nice and cute. But Hannah’s “PG-13 rated” life isn’t good enough for Hannah’s best friend Liz (Liza Lapira). She encourages her to step up her game to at least an R rating, but Hannah just wants to play it safe; she is after all, frying bigger fish, studying to pass the bar exam after all.
Now Cal is out on his own, while his son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is more stunned by the fact that his dad jumped from a moving vehicle than he is about the divorce. Robbie completely looks up to his father. And as the babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) points out, their kids are the only kids she sits for who actually want to stay up for dad to come home. Kids all get excited for mom of course, but typically never dad. Jessica probably feels so inclined to tell Emily this because she happens to have a high school crush on Cal and thinks that Emily is “bat shit crazy” for wanting a divorce all because she slept with her coworker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon).
Everyone has their cross to bear and there are a lot of twists and turns and a fair share of pure surprises. The ads do not do this film any sort of justice. While at first glance it sort of resembles what you could call “The 40-Year-Old-Born-Again-Virgin,” it’s far better than that. Not to talk down on Virgin, it’s still one of the absolute best comedies in years, but Crazy, Stupid, Love. is chock full of all kinds of thoughtful and emotional takes on the topic of love in all its forms. There comes a moment toward the end of the film where a speech is given. In that speech the film’s ultimate point is made: that everyone has a soul mate and when you find that one person you fight for them no matter what. I couldn’t agree with this more. And while it will make far more sense after having seen the film, I just have to say that I’m sure glad I bought that hot chocolate.
Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures