Crazy, Stupid, Love


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There’s a point in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” when reformed schlub Cal (Steve Carell) phones his ladykilling GQ savior, Jake (Ryan Gosling), after a second-act friendship hiatus. So starkly divided are these two men’s personal stories that it truly feels like one movie is checking in on another.

With at least three inconveniently-in-love subplots to boot, the film’s overblown ambitions as a romance collage a la “Love Actually” are almost too much to take, until it finally justifies the major schism with a doozy of a climactic twist. But, then, matters erupt into one of the least successful all-roads-converged, comic barings-all in recent memory, and you realize the whole damn thing is as deliberately packaged as a Whitman’s Sampler.

And yet, with a stupendous cast and countless moments that are alternately very sweet and very funny, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” has enough greatness of parts to successfully distract you from the failings of the whole. Directed by Glenn Ficara and John Requa (“I Love You Phillip Morris”), and written by Disney regular Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Bolt”), it fittingly feels torn between inspired verve and cartoon contrivance. But few scenes fail to stand up on their own, and you’ll have as hard a time choosing a favorite as you will choosing the best performance.

Is it Carell’s turn as Cal, a man with a rocky marriage through whom the star comic shows off his undervalued dramatic chops? The radiant Julianne Moore as Cal’s wife, a cheating character made uncommonly vivid and sincere? Emma Stone as a reluctant smart gal, who’d suffer from script sidelining if not for the starlet’s incredible spunk? Or how about Gosling as Jake, who’s amazingly magnetic despite being the film’s scapegoat for its own chauvinism? Most will choose the latter, as it showcases Gosling’s hatching as a sex and style god (Jake’s recoiling at the sound of Cal’s velcro wallet is a landmark moment in metrosexuality).

What do we ultimately reap from this loaded rom-com? Not profound lessons on how to love, but tips on how to revel in all the small things.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

PG-13
Two-and-a-half reels out of four
Now playing in area theaters



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Contact the South Philly Review at editor@southphillyreview.com.

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 08-04-11
Jane Kiefer
Jane Kiefer, a seasoned journalist with a rich background in digital media strategies, leads South Philly Review as its Editor-in-Chief. Originally hailing from Seattle, Jane combines her outsider perspective with a profound respect for South Philly's vibrant community, bringing fresh insights and innovative storytelling to the newspaper.