The title looks odd. We aren’t used to seeing a period at the end of one.
The emphasis fits. Crazy, Stupid, Love. is all three. It is crazy funny wrapped in a stupid, overdone plot and like love, is sometimes so complicated it needs a period at the end.
Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are a married couple. She’s bored, has an affair and wants a divorce. He’s cut loose and flounders until meeting Jacob, a 30-something player done by Ryan Gosling. Jacob teaches Carell’s Cal how to pick up women. With new threads, a new hairdo and confidence, Cal changes.
Other pieces of the flick’s complex puzzle include her relationship with an office co-worker done by Kevin Bacon. Their son Robbie — done by newcomer Jonah Bobo — is 13 and in lust with his 17-year old babysitter who is — in turn — infatuated with Cal. Bobo, by the way, is a real find. He steals every scene he’s in.
Then there’s Emma Stone’s Hannah. She’s a soon-to-be-lawyer who is hit on and then turns down Gosling’s Jacob.
Carell and Moore are always terrific, and they anchor comedy that is more about the plot than about punch lines.
Gosling — who’s only claim to non-art house movie fame is the dreadful The Notebook — is terrific in his second serious commercial role. He’s opposite the incredibly charismatic and equally talented Stone who got a Golden Globe nomination and won the MTV best comedy actress award for Easy A.
They do one of the most unique, funny and touching love scenes I’ve seen in a film in years.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa, I Love You Philip Morris) plow through writer Dan Fogelman’s (both Cars flicks, Tangled) plot as if it is a series of half-hour TV sitcoms. Scenes are set up in episodic fashion. You have a crisis, the punch line is delivered, lesson learned. Instead of having to stay tuned for next week, we get to move instantly to the next episode.
Nothing in Crazy, Stupid, Love. should work. Part of why is does is Fogelman tossing in some terrific twists. You will not see them coming. Plus, the film racks up so many laughs that the period works. It even makes the last — and very painful — 10-minutes work.
If you’re going to blow a movie, blow it this way.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, July 29 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.