Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) (Movie Review 58 of 2011 AD)

©2011 Warner Brothers
Movie review: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Steve Carell
Ryan Gosling
Julianne Moore
Emma Stone
Analeigh Tipton
Marisa Tomei 
Jonah Bobo

118 min.

The Actors
Steve Carell has a great scene with nephew Dwayne (Paul Dano), as the uncle with healing wrists in Little Miss Sunshine (2006).
Ryan Gosling is taking over your movie theater: Drive just opened, and The Ides of March premieres next week. Both movies have Gosling all over them.
Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right (2010)).
Emma Stone (Easy A (2010)).
Analeigh Tipton (Hung (TV)).
Jonah Bobo (Zathura (2005)).
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler (2008)).

The Rating
Sentimental stalking: the key to marriage-repair.
©2011 Warner Brothers
PG-13 for course humor, sexual content and language (MPAA).

The Story Begins
Cal Weaver (Carell) gets drunk and spreads the word to everyone in a fancy bar that his wife Emily has been cheating on him and wants a divorce. Jacob (Gosling) takes Cal aside to tell him that he has invited cuckolding and rejection with his New Balance sneakers, ill-fitting jacket and cheap haircut. Using friendly slaps to Cal's face to punctuate many of his sentences, Jacob offers to help him "rediscover" his "manhood," not by looking down but by dressing stylishly, appearing wealthy, speaking confidently and having sexual intercourse with a different woman every night, as Jacob does. Hanna (Stone) refuses to be one of Jacob's different women, and you know what that means according to the rules of romantic comedy. Meanwhile, the Weavers' babysitter is seven years younger than the actress who plays her, so Danny (Bobo), who still carries the scent of the womb, figures he has a shot.

Oh, no diseases for me tonight. Thanks, though!
©2011 Warner Brothers

What I think

In real life, if you're going to move swiftly from woman to woman, it would seem prudent to move just as quickly from fancy bar to fancy bar, but Jacob doesn't need to do that. He's the mythical carefree playboy: accused of leading a shallow, empty life, but never called a sexual predator and never shunned or scowled at as a "user" by the nightclub regulars.

Some comments on movie websites quote Jacob's lines and complain of sexism. I'd say there's a big difference between portraying something and being something, but the message boards are missing a more interesting point.

Jackie berates Callie for getting discarded by her husband.
©2011 Warner Brothers

Here, let's imagine the genders of Crazy, Stupid, Love reversed:

CALLIE: My husband just left me, and he slept with some woman at the office!

JACKIE: Well, it's no wonder: you've certainly let yourself go. I'm going to make you over and teach you how to get into a man's pants more effectively. You know, rediscover your femininity.

It's unfair, though, to attack a screenplay for making nonjudgmental observations about human nature. Better to first address the accuracy of each problematic point, in case it isn't the words themselves that offend you, but the truth of them.

No! It doesn't help that you're "getting hair down there!"
©2011 Warner Brothers

Is it true, then, that we're obligated to court our spouses tirelessly, for the rest of our lives, because they're "only human" and may "stray?" Is counting on them to remain faithful on your bad hair days the same as taking them for granted? If "working late" comes to mean "exchanging bodily fluids with Jamie from accounting," is it the cheater's fault for cheating? Is it your fault for working too many Saturdays, getting flabby from lack of exercise, wearing the wrong shoes and forgetting to compliment your spouse on wearing the right shoes? Is your spouse at fault for failing to love and cherish you no matter how rotten your teeth have become and how bad you smell? Do you share the blame equally? Or is "fault" a useless concept in a struggling marriage in which you're both flawed, make mistakes and blah, blah, blah?

Liza Lapira of Traffic Light (TV), looking at someone.
©2011 Warner Brothers

Why you should see it
  • You want to master the romantic arts of deception and manipulation, in order to feel better about yourself.
  • You love it when a movie deceives and manipulates you with a far-fetched plot twist.
  • Emma Stone is not flabby and wears the right shoes.
  • There's such a thick layer of Gosling, it's just about dripping from certain frames.
Why you shouldn't see it
  • You're an executive at New Balance or at The Gap and think there was no reason Cal couldn't rediscover his manhood in New Balance sneakers and Gap khaki cargo pants.
  • You resent Steve Carell for leaving The Office.
  • You resent Steve Carell for the part he played in converting a pointed and dark British indictment of corporate culture into a neutered puppy for American television.