Crazy, Stupid Love (9/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 117 minutes
Not for children.
Who is the luckiest man in Hollywood? My vote goes
to Ryan Gosling. First he's the onscreen lover of Rachel McAdams in
The Notebook (2004, which still brings tears to my eyes all these
years later). Now he gets Emma Stone. He's two-thirds of the way to a
trifecta. Only Amy Adams remains.
This is a film that restores my faith in romantic
comedies. What makes it tick is the exceptional acting. What sets it
above the norm is Emma Stone. It's a good, entertaining film for the
first hour, but then when Emma takes center stage, it is drop dead
funny. Gosling's reactions to her antics make the scenes well-nigh
perfect. Her crazed but believable performance is deserving of an
Oscar®, but this is a comedy and Oscars rarely recognize comedies.
It's got a terrific, complex script (Dan Fogelman)
that interweaves relationships between and among all the participants in
a deliciously labyrinthine plot. The fact that there is only one credit
shows that there weren't any problems in putting it together. While
Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, and Gosling give fine performances, the
other actor who makes this something special is Jonah Bobo, who plays
Robbie, the son of Carell and Moore. His deadpan playing is spot on.
If there were an Oscar® for ensemble cast, this
would be at the top of the nominee list because there isn't a weak
performance in the bunch, including Analeigh Tipton as the "older woman"
at 17, object of 13-year old Robbie's affections, Oscar®-winner Marisa
Tomei as a woman-scorned teacher with whom Carell gets involved, and
Kevin Bacon, who is after Moore when it looks as if she is dumping her
husband, Carell. Crooner Josh Groban even has a cameo and acquits
himself admirably among such blazing talent.
On the negative side, it's too long at just a shade
under two hours and the maudlin ending segued the film from a fine
comedy into something different, breaking the fine comedic pace of the
movie up until then. If directors Glenn Ficarra and John Recqua could
have stifled the urge to end a good comedy with a message (albeit a good
one) and terminated the film 20 minutes earlier, it would have left a
much better taste in my mouth. Ficarra and Recqua should have taken heed
of Samuel Goldwyn's advice that if a filmmaker wants to send a message,
he should use Western Union. Today he'd probably say Twitter since WU
doesn't send telegrams any more.