CRAZY STUPID LOVE (Glenn Ficarra, John Requa)
From the guys who brought us the Ewan McGregor-Jim Carrey comedy I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS comes this ensemble romcom that plays out in cliched romcom fashion, develops quite earnestly and humorously, and manages to pack some surprises towards the end. I kid you not I howled like a madman in laughter countless times.
I almost gave up. Halfway through the film the narrative drags like it's going nowhere, and not even Steve Carrell's charms can save the day; however, Ficarra and Requa knew how to keep the goods until the exact moment when we least expect them, and surprises after surprises unfold.
Carell and Julianne Moore play a couple who decides to get a divorce (or should I say Moore decides to dump Carell for Kevin Bacon who again plays the third party, remember SUPER?) which takes a toll on their household, especially on their 13- year old son. After much wallowing in self-pity in a classy bar, enter suave Ryan Gosling who's quite the ladies man, and transforms Carell for good.
The transformation is breathtaking, and a rollercoaster ride ensues. As Julianne Moore's character puts it, "who are you?" (to Carell). There's an even better line there. "Nine? Nine?!"
In a parallel story, straight-laced Emma Stone who's about to become a lawyer anticipates the impending marriage proposal of his boyfriend (that guy who sang "TO WHERE YOU ARE"). We get the story already. Cue Ryan Gosling.
And just when do cliches stop being cliches? Does it happen when the character recognizes that he is in a cliched moment? For CRAZY STUPID LOVE's sake, yes.
What's best in CRAZY STUPID LOVE is its humorous acknowledgement that love often creates an "ASSHOLE" out of us, and yet we should learn from our pitfalls and rise to become better persons. There is a multi-generational, interconnected approach to this theme that the filmmakers utilized in order to address its universality. It's a total coordinated mess. One is in love with another, who is in love with another, who is in love with yet another and so on and so forth. The resulting visual effect is side-splitting. Ficarra and Requa hits the right timing.
Aside from Moore who has proven with time that she can handle humor and serious drama in one sitting, Carell is the real gem here; that scene before he jumps off a moving car to avoid hearing his wife's infidelity is emotionally-gripping. You can't help but empathize with his character's tragedy.
And Gosling's character gets crucified in the end (as if we didn't already know), but then again it's a smooth attempt to show the reality that not one act of sincerity can absolve a lifetime of womanizing. But characters in a romcom don't stay crucified for too long.
Basically a film basked with mainstream elements but with well-thought relational sensibilities, CRAZY STUPID LOVE succeeds as a feel-good film that should make us wiser after viewing.