Crazy, Stupid, Love tells three interconnected stories of three guys of different generations, and the methods in which they battle this crazy little thing called love. Cal (Steve Carell) has just been informed by his wife of many years (Julianne Moore) that she’s been getting the bacon of an accountant (Kevin… you got it) and wants a divorce. While in the midst of annoying youthful bar patrons with his drunken ramblings, Cal is noticed by Jacob (Ryan Gosling) a suave manwhore who decides to take Cal under his wing.
Within a matter of weeks, Jacob pimps Cal out with designer clothes, a fresh haircut, and enough newfound confidence to lay most any dame.
The third story belongs to Robbie, Cal’s 13-year-old son, who is in love with Jessica, his 17-year-old babysitter, who is in love with Cal. Sigh.
So, herein lies the problem(s): Cal’s story is a perfectly amicable romantic dramedy, and the movie absolutely soars anytime Gosling is on screen. Why then is so little time devoted to the Jacob character? When we finally get to know something about Jacob, in an extended bedside chat he has with a newfound love (Emma Stone), it’s too late, and we’re left wishing the film had focused on him more.
Instead of giving Gosling ample screen time, Crazy, Stupid, Love wastes itself on the Robbie subplot. The scenes, and there are many, in which Robbie tries to court Jessica are mildly cute, but nothing more. Amidst the adultery and casual sex in the rest of the film, this subplot is extremely unneeded. Likewise Jessica’s obsessive fascination with Cal. In addition to being unessential, both stories border on pedophilia and, most importantly, are a complete bore.
In short, take out the kiddie distractions, and you’d have a pretty good film. Director’s Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who had similar plot structure issues with I Love You Phillip Morris) are completely in love with Ryan Gosling; the camera and script simply melt for Jacob. His come-ons are as effortless as his mannerisms; whether he’s walking across a bar or eating a slice of pizza in a mall, he does it with the poise of a true badass. Gosling is, I suppose, worth the price of admission alone.
Crazy, Stupid, Love can be summed up in one scene, a wham, bam, thank you ma’am culmination that pits every major cast member in a well-kept backyard. The scene starts and carries on rather brilliantly, until it’s all but ruined by going completely absurdist slapstick. Like the rest of the film, that scene would’ve been near-perfect had the directors not taken on too much and forced it to be something more. C+