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Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Crazy, Stupid, Love.", one-night stand entertainment

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Ok, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is not going to shake the foundations of film industry, and won't (shouldn't) go down in history. But as a romantic comedy with a limited palette, it has an undeniable charm, thanks to the chemistry of their cast, and some very funny and rewarding moments, plus an engaging vibe that lasts almost the entire film.

As I just said, the plot of "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is pretty archetypical. Won't go into it because I would easily ruin it for you, but very briefly: is the sort of coral rom-com, with love affairs for every age group, from teenage years to a 40-some couple that breaks their marriage after 25 years, where no one is taking what he/she wants.

Despite the pivotal story of the film is the Weaver's breakup, soon one realise this is mainly the show of two characters/actors: the heartbroken Cal Weaver played by Steve Carell, and Jacob Palmer, the ladyslayer played by Ryan Gosling. They met in a pickup bar and build an awkwad, pygmalionesque, relationship, where the young one teaches the out-of-the-market, old-fashioned middle-aged one, how to pick up girls. Honestly, in the hands of many comedians this argument would have been annoying, but Carell and Gosling make it amusing. Praise Carell for being capable of showing so many different faces with that credibility on the same film.

The movie keeps going and the related stories start evolving, with some hilarious situations and a flowing pace. Also with some strange and anticlimactic moments, I guess the way directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa want to subvert the obvious and trite paths of romantic comedies. Unfortunately, the movie only "seems" original, but is far from being really brave or revolutionary. On the contrary, as we cross the halfway point, it becomes evident "Crazy, Stupid, Love." makes a conscious decision for a commercial, conservative ending. Not complaining, because I didn't think the movie had any other pretension than being a good entertainment.

Aside for its more foreseeable second half I have two other concerns too add to the film. One is typical of the coral movies. Stories tends to be unbalanced. In this case I would say the youngest "love affair" is a flimsy argument, and it gets a bit overexploited, despite babysitter's Jessica is a character fantastically played by Analeigh Tipton. Also, is a bit disappointing wasting such a great actress like Julianne Moore, or in a more secondary roles, Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei, for their limited (the latest two are pure caricatures) roles. And the second one is the end. We get almost 20 unnecessary (in my opinion) extra minutes from what could have been a much better scene (that fight is among the funniest of the film) to close the film on a high note. But instead we have a very typical, commercially safe one.

Overall, this is a quite pleasant movie, thanks to the great performance of Steve Carell, well backed by Ryan Gosling and the rest of the cast, with some memorable scenes (one involving "Dirty Dancing" which is remarkable) that makes it a nice entertainment. Following its argument, don't expect the "love of your life", but  will do for a one-night stand.

SCORE: 6/10

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