Crazy, Stupid, Love is a decent film. It is very funny and incredibly well-acted, but it will inevitably suffer from falling to the wayside in the face of a rather respectable season of film releases. It is incredibly star heavy and a surprisingly well-executed plot that takes a frank, and considerably post-modern, look at the decaying of the American nuclear family. This subject has certainly been worked and reworked, however, I am here to tell you that Crazy, Stupid, Love is a very enjoyable film and well worth watching if only for the humor. However, I am also here to say that this is perhaps Steve Carell's best performance since Little Miss Sunshine and I would not be surprised to see the comedic actor snag some Oscar nominations for mature performances in the coming years.
There are a lot of characters present in this films so I will attempt to discuss their presence and role in the film, as opposed to simply relaying the plot, because that would not only spoil the film. It would also miss a lot of what is going on in the film, which focuses heavily on the effects of a person who is acting crazy and stupid as a result of their love. The main character of the film Hal Weaver (Steve Carell) is faced with the news that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) is seeking a divorce from him because she feels that not only has their love gone sour, but also she has found herself becoming intimate with a suave and rather toolish co-worker named David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Both Emily and Hal are severely depressed with their lives which in effect, cause their own children to become socially troubled causing their daughter Molly (Joey King) to become in essence a mute and their son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) to smart off at school and create an unhealthy attraction to his babysitter Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton), who incidentally has formed her own crush on Hal. In the same film, the viewers are introduced to Hannah (Emma Stone) a up and coming lawyer who is expecting her pretentious lawyer boyfriend Richard (Josh Groban) to finally propose to her upon her graduation. Finally, and perhaps most hilariously, there is the character of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who is a young, attractive man who has created the perfect formula for attracting women and spends his evenings making quick work of sleeping with them. Now if this is not a diverse set of narratives, I do not know what would be such. Now imagine all these characters interacting in various manners often undermining and supporting each other as it proves necessary. I would love to tell you how brilliantly they all end up connecting together, but that would ruin some rather excellent plot twists...so I will just leave it up to your viewing, I promise it will make you laugh during multiple instances.
So, I mentioned this being a post-modern focus on familial decay and I feel as though this would be an excellent time to elaborate on the post-modern portion of that statement. It is not post-modern in the sense that a film like (500) Days of Summer narratively speaking, but I cannot help but feel that the casting choices were intended to reflect such a notion. The film is drenched with notable actors, whose careers outside this film severely contradict the characters they play. The obvious is the rather implausible relationship between a person like Steve Carell and Julianne Moore given that she is considerably more attractive than he is, and in this instance his character is by no means charming thus making the relationship even more unlikely. Next is the character of Jessica played by former America's Next Top Model competitor Analeigh Tipton who is considerably well-spoken and social aware, unlike her character in the film. This is and added level of absurdity considering a character like her could obviously find affections outside of members of the Weaver family. Finally, and perhaps most post-modern is the casting of openly staunch feminist Ryan Gosling as a womanizer. He plays the character expertly, yet with a subtle sense of absurdness as though he is telling viewers it is all a big hoax. It is not breaking the fourth wall technically, but it is certainly implied.
This film is solid, but probably not a necessary purchase. I would suggest renting it from one of the various sources it is available and watching it with some friends. It is likely to be right outside of many critics top ten lists for 2011.