In a cinematic summer full of robots, pirates, superheroes, and boy wizards, there is the need for occasional counter-programming for adults. The Steve Carell comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love fits this bill rather perfectly.
Increasingly so, I feel neglected by literally every movie executive out there. I am in my late thirties (OK, 40) and feel that my disposable income puts me into a category that should make me appealing to producers of various goods. Car makers invented the SUV so that people like my wife can drive the kids to school safely, which of course can only be done in a huge, gas-guzzling vehicle. I don't mind spending hundreds of pounds on an iPad despite the fact that there are already three laptops in the house.
Yet the movie industry clearly doesn't care about me. Otherwise I can't explain that the local multiplexes are reserved almost entirely for movies that are too loud and too stupid, and are usually sequels to other movies that were equally loud and maybe a little less stupid. To make matters worse, Hugh Grant seems conspicuously absent from the silver screen, who for a long time I relied on to provide me with my rom-com fix. (That said, I am not desperate enough yet to cave in and watch anything that features Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, and also - and maybe unfairly - Jennifer Aniston.)
Filling this void this summer is a small movie by the name Crazy, Stupid, Love, which I had been looking forward to seeing ever since watching the trailer. Within those two minutes, I was completely sold for various reasons, including: Steve Carell (who is funny), Julianne Moore (who is fantastic), Ryan Gosling (who dresses like every man would like to) and Emma Stone (who is adorable and thankfully, despite being in the same age group, so NOT like Kristen Stewart).
Arguably, it is tough to get to the movies nowadays. Babysitters need to be arranged and showtimes need to coincide with bedtimes, which might after all be the reason why Hollywood has given up on me altogether. Nevertheless I finally managed to see Crazy, Stupid, Love and was perfectly pleased by it. Steve Carell is a family man who, after 25 years of marriage is left by his wife, Julianne Moore. He starts frequenting a local bar where he meets the local ladies' man, Ryan Gosling, who feels sorry for him, takes him under his wing, and teaches him to make the most of the single life again. At the same time, that very ladies' man falls for Emma Stone, the one girl who seems to resist all his advances.
Whilst not necessarily the most inventive plot ever, Crazy, Stupid, Love pleases because it treats its characters with respect and its audience like adults in confronting its characters with situations with which you can empathize. Ryan Gosling doesn't only get the best suits but also some of the best laughs, and he gels very well with Emma Stone, who we already know does comedy perfectly. Carell is perfect as the mid-forties, slightly hapless man who finds himself in a world he left behind when TVs were still black and white. Amidst the banter, we start caring for Carell's character who, despite enjoying womanizing for a little while, really only wants the love of his life back.
From that perspective, this is a rather old-fashioned movie, but it is romantic, and it is funny. And in my book, it ticks all the boxes of a romantic comedy. Nothing crazy or stupid about this one.
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