Critic Daniel Sarath of Napier’s News probably had the best phrase to sum up Glenn Ficarra’s and John Requa’s film Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), saying that it is “a romantic comedy that is actually romantic and comedic.” Another way I would describe it is a well-written romantic comedy that is not only charming, sentimental, entertaining, and in no way predictable. The narrative is always up in the air, in terms of not knowing how it will end, but stays grounded with the acknowledged clichés, such as a downpour after being dumped or the switch to slow motion every time Ryan Gosling walks into the frame (even when he eats the pace is slowed down), and the prominent film references that are labeled as utter cheese but once they are performed you are proven otherwise (Dirty Dancing anyone?).
What makes all of these common “chick-flick” elements acceptable and not nails-dragging-down-a-chalkboard annoying is the cast and the way the narrative is written and edited together. The film stars Hollywood regulars Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, and Emma Stone as the centre of this stupid crazy love dilemma, however there is also the endearing sub-plot of Carell’s son Robbie, played by Jonah Bobo, who is in love with his babysitter Jessica, played by Analeigh Tipton, whom many might recognize from America’s Next Top Model (always nice to know that people can actually make something of themselves after a reality television show). Then there are the ‘crazy’ characters that are incorporated to stir up a little controversy, such as Kevin Bacon and Marissa Tomei. Even vocalist Josh Grobin makes a successful acting effort and will probably now be seen in a few more feature films.
What is great about the narrative is that you do not favour one storyline over the other. You do not sit there and think “gosh I really wish it would get back to the hot young couple, Jacob (Gosling) and Hannah (Stone).” No. You are rooting for each person, and when everything unravels and ties itself together again you are completely overjoyed, overwhelmed, and impressed that you did not suspect a thing, unless you are an individual who thrives on over-analyzing and ruining the hard work of filmmakers everywhere.
Verdict: Pay your ten dollars to see this on the big screen. I promise you, seeing Carell look suave in a black-suit, witnessing Moore’s fierce shoe wardrobe that is subtly incorporated and not rubbed in your face like Sex and the City, seeing Stone’s flawless face and bold actions, and last but not least, watching Gosling’s tanned-shirtless body stand motionless on the screen for you to enjoy will not disappoint. This is not a flick merely for women, I promise the men will admit their approval. I welcome the next and improved chick/dick flick! Cheers!