Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. – 118min – PG-13

It has been a while since I have seen a good comedy that layers story elements as finely as this movie did. This film has an excellent sense of comedic timing and was enjoyable to watch. There are three sets of couples all working on finding and defending love. The cast was well chosen and I felt each did a stupendous job in bringing these everyday struggles to light. I really love the humor in this film. I can’t remember the last film that made me laugh out loud. The writing was so well done I was completely taken over by the story and taken in with the journey of these characters. This movie gets a green light from me.

Cal (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) open the movie by getting a divorce. This is a heavy topic to start a comedy with. They really worried me about setting a tone of a dark comedy but this is not the case. We also see Hannah (Emma Stone) get approached by a pickup artist by the name of Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who gives her the full court press but she refuses his advances. Lastly we have Robbie (Jonah Bobo) a kid who is in Middle school who is in love with his babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) a high school student. All of these couples carefully contend with the same elements of love, relationships and self discovery. The journey that is life takes them all for a spin and we see real character growth.

There are several enjoyable aspect to this movie but one that stands out for me is Cal’s journey toward rediscovering himself. Jacob sees Cal in the bar and has a soft spot for him and in a Mr. Miyagi fashion gives him a makeover he desperately needs. The main focus of the film is Cal and how he deals with getting his life back on track, and how he approaches relationships. One thing this movie does well is keep the focus on hope and not give in to the easy joke or the canned Hollywood elements when it delivers its message.

I have to hand it to writer Dan Fogelman: he does do an entertaining story. I have to say I did not recognize his name until I looked him up. His writing credits include Cars, Tangled and Bolt. I have enjoyed the stories that he has done in the past so unbeknownst to me I am a fan of his work. This is something a little different than his normal film milieu but it’s defiantly one of his better films. The co-directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, did a great job of translating this script into live action. They have worked on other films but I have not seen them and it looks like they have only directed one other film. They collaborated on I Love You Phillip Morris as directors.

Spoiler Warning!!!! Do not look beyond this point!!! Unless you want to.

Ok the timing of the surprises in this film took me in and I had absolutely no idea they were going to cross paths as much as they did. I loved how they added the complexity to the funny moments. I am thinking of the back yard scene when everything comes to a head. As fun as that was, I really loved how it was a realization moment that nothing is going to be the same ever again.

Another scene was the end. Typically the average American viewer wants to have everything tied up neat and tidy at the end. I loved how they ended the story with a hopeful message one that really says that nothing ever gets completely resolved but all of the characters had a better perspective of how things were going to change from there. It left them and me hopeful.

One of the better moments is when Cal realizes that being a ladies’ man is not for him. I love how characters grow in this movie. Film makers seem to not give that as much attention as they should. The line I really liked from this discovery is “It was not about showing you, it was about getting on with my life.” Good stuff.

I forgot to mention that Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei were wonderful in this film, I completely spaced they were in this, I was so taken by the main players. I do want to say that Marisa Tomei hit it out of the park Kevin Bacon was excellent as the office love that is awkwardly trying to fit in.

What is one movie that took you in a direction you were not expecting? What was it and how were you surprised.

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