Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Man on Film: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

As we were trying to choose which movie to head out to over the weekend, our choices narrowed down to a few films. When Crazy, Stupid, Love. came up, TSLF made a comment that rings truer than any positive buzz could have:
It's weird, but I sort of trust Ryan Gosling's choices.
She is right. Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, and Blue Valentine were all great. The decisions to sign on to Stay and All Good Things (neither of which I've seen, but both of which were poorly received) were clearly defensible, as he was working with the man coming off of Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland on the former and Capturing the Friedman's on the latter. For what it was, The Notebook is fairly good. And as far as what's coming up for Gosling, Drive and The Ides of March both look to be promising if judged by the trailers.

As for Crazy, Stupid, Love., it seemed as though everyone who saw it came out loving it. Given that and Gosling's trustworthiness, it seemed like Crazy, Stupid, Love. could very conceivably overcome its awkward/awful title and lackluster trailer and actually be a decent flick.

For the most part, it was.

Sure, it is a romantic comedy, generally the kiss of death for dudes. Its trailer doesn't do it any favors on that front either. Somehow this film doesn't feel like a rom-com. Maybe it's the emotional rawness at its center as its protagonist has been cuckolded. The destruction of a marriage is not often at the center of a rom-com. In a world that deals almost exclusively with two singles who aren't supposed to be together getting together, seeing a separated couple trying to piece together their lives after one's infidelity tears them both apart is refreshing in a world other than that of the tiresome adult-oriented family melodrama.

Honestly, the film is just entertaining. The potential liability, Julianne Moore, has been cast in the only sort of role that she can actually pull off: the woman whose marriage is falling apart. While one has to wonder what this says about her own marriage, she is not thrust into the authoritarian roles that she is so ill-suited for like in Next or Children of Men where her inability to match the tone of the film grates one's nerves for every second that she's on screen. Past her, Carell is typically likeable, Gosling owns the role of lothario, Emma Stone gets to play an adult, and Marissa Tomei gets a great cameo. The narrative is well-crafted.

If Crazy, Stupid, Love. has a fault (other than that goddamn name), it is that its climax is too schmaltzy. It probably could have done without the About a Boy ending with a graduation speech supplanting the talent show performance, and the soul mate shit didn't work, but you can only punish a film so much for this. When a film is genuinely surprising for 110 minutes, an unsurprising eight minutes at the end don't necessarily sink the ship.

(After talking about how crappy the trailer was, you didn't think I was gonna put that up, did you?)


Young Man Duggan said...


Young Man Duggan said...

We just saw it last weekend. Really enjoyed it, but 100% agree about the lame ass speech at the end. Considering the amount of the movie that could actually happen in real life, there's no chance a speech like that WOULD EVER HAPPEN.

Josh "Old Man" Duggan said...

It was just so deflating to have a relatively good movie have such a lame ending.

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