Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

This mostly amiable and often very funny film is probably the weaker half of this week's Ryan Gosling double bill. But his performance as Jacob, a full-time ladies man, is the more interesting.

As he sharks his way around the bar, building towards the moment he can deliver the clinching 'Do you want to get out of here?' line, he is both as cold as an assassin and as excited as a kid at Christmas. It's far too good to play second fiddle to dopey, sad sack Cal (Steve Carell).

Right at the beginning, after Cal receives a sucker punch from his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) over dinner, Carell's ability to play wounded is just right for the role. But, as it becomes clear that his hurt isn't going to translate itself into anything more than self-pity and long faces, you soon lose sympathy for him.

Jacob, sick of seeing Cal moping at the bar, decides to take him on as a doer-up project, trying to teach him how to be a hit with the ladies and rediscover his manhood. Cal has no use for his manhood though – he's content to be puppy dog.

Carell is like a Steve Martin with all the funny bits surgically removed, leaving just a slightly awkward man staring

out at you, pleading for affection. And the film, a rom com, family drama hybrid is like a Parenthood about divorce.

It never really settles, always shifting onto some new path just when you thought you knew where it was going. This is no bad thing in itself although it does leave it a little unfocused.

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I could have done with more Gosling and Emma Stone (as Hannah) and maybe ditched the story about Cal's 13- yearold son's crush on an older girl which is just a bit icky.

It gets by, however, because the script by Dan Fogelman, previously a top Pixar/Disney writer, has some beltingly funny lines.


Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon

Length: 118 mins