CRAZY STUPID LOVE did a fun run around the eternal topic in this 2011 hit, with a sure-fire cast raising decent material to a satisfyingly higher level than that usually scribbled for the average rom-com. Sleekly directed by the team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, written by Dan Fogelman, it glides smoothly through 118 minutes of droll humor and some adroit pinches of pain, thanks to engaging work from a roster of appealing actors. You’ve only had to experience the third word in the title to grasp how the first and second words were created in a vain to attempt to grapple with it.
“I have loved her even when I hated her… only married couples’ll understand that one..”
Middle-aged ‘Cal Weaver’ (Steve Carell), locked into a dutiful drone zone, has his placid hamster treadmill shaken when wife ‘Emily’ (Julianne Moore) tells him she wants a divorce, and—by the way—that she’s been sleeping with her co-worker ‘David Lindhagen’ (Kevin Bacon). The despondent Cal catches the attention of suave bar-Romeo ‘Jacob Palmer’ (Ryan Gosling), who takes it upon himself to guide flatfooted Cal on the sexcapade-racking road to Manhood Recovery. Mating & sating rituals writhe and coil when Cal collides with lust-expressive teacher ‘Kate’ (Marisa Tomei) and seemingly commitment-aloof womanizer Jacob meets ‘Hannah’ (Emma Stone), whose game-free honesty grabs him by the heart.
It works because you like these characters and want to see them happy. The script and direction don’t overplay their hand with insipid or cruel farce that doesn’t relate to real life’s absurd incidents; there’s a thankful absence of malice. Carell’s self-deprecating decency, Gosling’s unforced charm, Moore’s mastery of minute moments; plus, Marisa and Emma? What, like I need my arm broken?
The attractive $50,000,000 production also benefits from swell work by Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Liza Lapira, John Carroll Lynch, Josh Groban, Beth Littleford and Joey King. Reviews were positive, and box-office results put its comforting comedy into a comfortable 58th place for the year, grossing $143,000,000.