Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. **

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Analeigh Tipton, John Carroll Lynch, Jonah Bobo
Josh Groban, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei

Despite how generic its title made it sound (just a bunch of adjectives and a noun thrown in together), Crazy, Stupid, Love. seemed promising because of the people who star in it and the men behind the camera. The film contains none of the loony excitement of Ficarra and Requa's I Love You Phillip Morris. which isn't a perfect movie by any means but still thrives with something that makes it feel truly alive. Of course, it's not like they have to repeat a style on every movie, that would certainly limit their artistic blooming, but their work in this film seems stilted to say the least.
The screenplay, written by Dan Fogelman, works as Magnolia lite; we meet several characters living in Los Angeles whose lives get intertwined and united by the universal subject of love.
Carell plays Cal Weaver, a sad-eyed man whose life turns upside down after his wife Emily (Moore) confesses she cheated with one of her co-workers (Bacon) and asks for a divorce.
Cal becomes an even more tragic figure and spends the nights away crying at a hip bar where he catches the eye of the womanizing Jacob Palmer (Gosling) who has just been rejected for the first time in his life by a young, lively lawyer called Hannah (Stone). Perhaps seeking to atone for the sin committed against his masculinity, Jacob decides to "Miyagi" Cal and turn him into a womanizer.
While it can be said that Cal and Jacob share the main plot, the peripheral stories around them are what truly make the film work better than it should.
Cal's son Robbie (Bobo) for example, plays perhaps the film's most romantic role as he engages in a battle to win the heart of his babysitter Jessica (the wide eyed Tipton whose smile evokes a young Shelley Duvall) who is 4 years older than him.
Perhaps the movie works best when it occurs as individual vignettes, say Cal's crazy one night stand with insane teacher Kate (Tomei playing a dignified version of batshit crazy) is joyous to say the least and the always fantastic Moore turns Emily's scenes of quiet sorrow into complete acting courses.
Yet as it travels from Jacob's James Bond-ish house to Hannah's own disastrous affair with a sadsack colleague (played with enough douche baggery by Groban to make us root for Jacob) we realize that Requa and Ficarra can not, for the life of them, juggle smartly with so many characters.
The film feels as if they forget about some of their characters and then upon remembering their existence try to make them do something funny, cute or silly, as if to say "hey I'm still here". The plot has some serious time conundrums and you might find yourself surprised to realize that one year has supposedly gone by in the movie when it ends. Even if the performances are charming (Emma Stone's giant laughter is deemed to overthrow the reign of Julia Roberts') the film never feels particularly crazy, stupid or even romantic.
During the most inspired sequence in the running time, all the characters come together through a divine intervention that would've made Moliere giggle, during a single moment the entire film comes together perfectly and its theme of universality clicks as we realize that yeah, we're all on the same boat when it comes to lámour.
However the film keeps on going after this and the spark of magic it obtained is reduced to a series of preachy "we all can change and be forgiven" moments where once again the pain of individuality becomes too tedious to watch.


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

*Pumps fists* We agree...sort of. This one is really odd, vaguely enjoyable at times but really just odd.

Paolo said...

I had my diatribe about this movie (or even with the state of comedy) in Andrew's site, but I never tired of this movie while I was watching it. It's good old fun!

Ana Cris said...

Personalmente, esta es de las únicas películas en las cuales puedo observar una misma escena varias veces sin aburrirme y sobre todo, sin parar de reír. No creo que se les olvidara durante el transcurso de la película mencionar a los personajes y luego BOOM, como tú lo mencionas. Lo interesante de esta escena en la que todos se juntan, es hacer a la audiencia recordarse de aquella vez donde se toparon un alguna coincidencia o situación que los hizo pensar "Vaya, realmente el mundo es pequeño!". Considero que los autores trataron de provocar risa basados en la ironía que causa el ver como llegan cada uno de los personajes involucrados en distintos líos amorosos (de la misma familia) a un mismo lugar, en un mismo momento.

Concuerdo en que ciertas partes de la película fueron bastante lentas, pero jamás perdí la atención o me aburrí durante la película. Al respecto de lo que mencionas, considero que esta película no se trató de exponer lo loco, lo estúpido y el amor por separado; sino el mostrar que tan loco y estúpido es el amor. Mostraron como de las situaciones más inesperadas surge ese dichoso sentimiento al que todos en algún momento de nuestras vidas hemos catalogado como loco y estúpido.