Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy that hides behind its acclaimed star-studded cast and elements of marital drama in an attempt to disguise itself as classier fare than your average chick flick. But in the end, it’s all just a ruse. Sure, it’s sweet enough. Its characters likable enough. Take the films lead, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), for instance: in the opening scene, his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) unexpectedly lays on the news that she cheated on him and wants a divorce. Cal, who retains that clueless, kind off goofy persona that always follows Carell, is devastated. This is a man who, in the midst of a crumbling relationship, realizes how much he still truly, deeply loves his wife. He tries to drink away his frustration and sadness, frequenting a local upscale pick-up bar where he drunkenly (and constantly) rambles to a crowd of no one about his wife’s infidelity with co-worker David (Kevin Bacon) — and in the process, attracts the attention of playboy Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who decides to take Cal under his wing.
In Gosling lies a real flair for comedy. He’s got the swagger. He’s got the timing. Not to mention a body that very well looks like it’s been expertly photoshopped, as his love interest Hannah (Emma Stone) points out. This, the relationships between our many different pairs, is where the film simultaneously thrives and underwhelms. The high point of the film is the relationship between opposites Cal and Jacob; It’s the only one that’s ever given any real, solid attention, and is where most of the fun and effective comedy stems from. Since we first meet Cal and Emily when their marriage has hit rock-bottom, we never get much of a sense of what they used to be — making the idea that these two are soul-mates who belong together something that we take as a given because the film tells us to, but not because we wholeheartedly believe it.
The real winning ingredient the filmmakers missed out on though was Jacob and Hannah as a couple; they’re the pair that had the most potential to win over moviegoers hearts, but for some reason are the most neglected, with around a measly three full scenes together, and only one scene to establish their compatibility and passion for one another. Mind you, it’s a fantastic, hilarious, adorable scene, and anyone who has seen Dirty Dancing will be totally and completely charmed…but that one scene was not enough to bring the romance for a two hour long movie that labels itself as a romantic comedy.
Because the film tries to squeeze in so many different interconnecting story lines, some of which are unnecessary and expendable (namely one involving the Weaver’s 17-year-old babysitter being smitten with Cal), we’re never given enough time and focus to any one couple to truly fall in love with them. This mishmash of story lines exists presumably to get across the films overall message that you should fight with your all for the one you love — a message that is constantly thrown at us, as if the audience is too dense to pick up on it. With some endearing scenes, and a climax so wonderful and chaotic that it almost tricked me into feeling differently about the film as a whole, the moments of excessive blandness, cheese and cliches leveled out Crazy, Stupid, Love to just a pleasant, easily forgettable movie to pass the time with.