This is really a film of two halves. The first half is brilliant and could easily have been the whole film. I actually wanted it to be the whole film and was slightly irritated when that part stopped and the story developed into something else. The second half, though not as good, is actually helped by how good the first half is.
The first half that I’m so enthusiastic about is helped forward by the brilliant performance and chemistry between Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. The premise for this part of the film is really simple and has been done to death loads of times before, Ryan Gosling is a womanizer and decides, through pity, to teach Steve Carell how to be one too.
The resulting scenes, dressing Carell and teaching him how to talk to woman, are some of the funniest bits of film I’ve seen in a long while. It has been done before, Hitch being an example that springs to mind immediately, but its the fact that Steve Carell is so hopeless but likable and that Ryan Gosling is so slimy, irritating but seems to have a male appeal. It’s like watching James Bond teach Michael Cera, you want to hate James Bond for his success and his womanizing but you have nothing but respect for the spy.
The problem then becomes that this part of the film stops. Carell’s transformation is complete and we get to watch him use his new “skills” to chaotic, mishap effect. This half of the film isn’t as good as the first because both Carell and Gosling then get their own stories, of which Carell’s take precident and for some sections, Gosling just disappears altogether.
The film doesn’t dip drastically and is still really funny in places. The storyline between Carell’s son and the babysitter he has an inappropriate and very forward crush on is a whole, hilarious little sub-plot that manages to intertwine itself into the main plot with a whole heap of other events that you believe are unconnected but then play a part in the larger story.
In fact, one of the main strengths of the film is the writing and the “twists.” These twists can be a little ridiculous but if you can suspend your disbelief slightly, they really pay-off and there is one that I doubt anyone will see coming or work out but for me was very satisfying and very funny.
It’s a testament to the film that the supporting cast, if its fair to call them that, are as able and brilliant as the two male leads. I am still in love with Emma Stone and this film goes as another positive in a film career that I have yet to fault. Kevin Bacon plays the slimy new boyfriend perfectly and Julianne Moore is as effortlessly funny when she needs to be too.
I was pleasantly surprised with Crazy, Stupid, Love. I’m a huge fan of Steve Carell and watched it on the basis of him alone but enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. Its funny, sweet and keeps you on your toes with how the story develops and twists expectations.
Overall, a very charming film that again shows how good Steve Carell is, how funny Ryan Gosling can be and how beautiful Emma Stone is (sorry). It is better in the first half of the film than it is in the second but still has some great laughs, and surprises, throughout.
(1-3 – awful/avoid. 4-6 – average. 7-8 – good. 9-10 – fantastic.)