The Daughter was still away, and the Wife, surprisingly, suggest we see TWO movies in one day. Was she kidding? That’d be the kind of crazy idea I’d come up with. But after the 12:10 pm showing of The Help, we went home to have supper, then went out for the 6:40 pm showing of Crazy, Stupid, Love.; crazy, stupid, punctuation.. It had gotten mostly positive reviews. And this would become a mini Emma Stone film festival.
So we went to see C,S,L. and we both loved it! And now I’m trying to deconstruct why. Part of it is that it got right to the storyline without a lot of exposition. In that first scene in the car, we recognize that Cal (Steve Carrell) is very happy in his marriage but that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) is not. He ends up at a bar and takes Don Juan lessons from Jacob (Ryan Gosling), with some unintended consequences.
So I decided to get lazy and go to Rotten Tomatoes and clip the top critics’ remarks to see how they matched up with mine.
“It’s romantic, touching, a little risqué and screwball, yet reassuringly down-to-earth.” – Colin Calvert. TRUE
“A multi-threaded and well-organized comedy full of pleasant surprises and appealing characters.” – Eric D. Synder. TRUE
“This grand romantic gesture about grand romantic gestures conjures up the bittersweet magic of first loves, lasting loves, lost loves and all the loves in between.” – Betsy Sharkey. DEFINITELY TRUE
“I laughed all the way through, thanks to both consistently clever dialogue and deft delivery from Carell and Gosling, who clearly relished a chance to flex his comic muscles.” – Elizabeth Weitzman. Mostly TRUE. I didn’t laugh every minute, though the woman sitting across the aisle two rows up, may have.
“Adult dramas and comedies should at least have a toe in their audience’s lives.” – Ann Hornaday. I think the movie does do that, for the most part.
“A Midsummer Night’s PG-13 sex comedy.” – Carrie Rickey. Not only is this TRUE, I had already concluded that the big scene near the end when A is after B and B is after C, etc. was Shakespearean comedy, but then thought that was too pretentious; maybe it wasn’t.
“The movie suffers perhaps from too many characters and subplots but all the actors appear to have fun with their characters.” – Kirk Honeycutt. I balk at the first part. I’ve watched movies with too many subplots – “I can’t remember – who is THAT?” – and this was not one of them, at least for me. But the second part is TRUE.
“‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ is a sweet romantic comedy about good-hearted people. Imagine that.” – Roger Ebert. OH YEAH, TRUE.
So I liked it, perhaps more than I expected, A- or, at worst, B+ territory.