Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) ★ ★ ★ ★
This film is part of a new kind of American romantic comedy which is wittier, less sentimental and more authentic in its realization than its predecessors. The cast fits together well, with playboy Jacob (Ryan Gosling) opposite dull dad, Cal (Steve Carell) and Emma Stone playing her usual quirky role, as Hannah, a budding lawyer. The film draws attention to conventions of modern dating and 'picking up', which allows the audience to examine each generation of love story in a different way.
The film begins in an unusual way when Cal's wife of 25 years, Emily, (Julianne Moore) proposes a surprise divorce. Setting up young, idealistic love against an established married relationship, with kids and a house involved, creates a sense of perspective. The younger actors weren't as endearing as their adult counterparts, but nevertheless gave heartfelt performances.
There are some uncomfortable moments - when we repeatedly witness 13-year-old Robbie's (Jonah Bobo) professed love for 17-yearold Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Or when Cal attempts his first one-night-stand with an ex-alcoholic teacher, who is far too emotional around strangers. However, it sticks true to the "crazy" in the film's title. Love does appears to be crazy at times.
Ryan Gosling's performance is impressive. He manages to maintain his cool, suave persona as Jacob -the charming womanizer who understands the bar scene- while maintaining a sense of integrity and innocence. He is definitely a lovable character.
The final half-hour or so becomes overdramatic, with an attempt at a profound speech on love (by the 13-year-old!) at a school graduation, and a family backyard brawl. All the noise and outpouring of emotion becomes a bit overwhelming and breaks the previously cool atmosphere - but it’s an entertaining watch.