‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics single out memorable performances by Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in this 'crazy smart film.'

Although the summer season is packed with big, noisy, CGI-enhanced blockbusters, studio executives are wise to the fact that not everyone wants to see flashy, action-heavy films, so they smartly offer up counter-programming in the form of romantic comedies. This week’s star-studded “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” is a perfect example, underscored by its 74 percent “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

The film revolves around Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), whose wife (Julianne Moore) has recently announced her infidelity (the “other man” is played by Kevin Bacon) and requested a divorce. Cal takes his sorrows to a singles’ bar, where he’s adopted by local ladies’ man Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Jacob educates Cal in the new ways of wooing the ladies, and although Cal picks up some decent skills, his heart is in the wrong place: He’s looking for that elusive true love, a soul mate.

Cal is also dealing with the fact that his adolescent son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with his teenage babysitter (Analeigh Tipton), who in turn is in love with Cal. Meanwhile, Jacob eventually realizes that he’s still pining for the woman (Emma Stone) who got away.

Critics seem to be most pleased with the film’s ensemble cast, with only a few grumbles about clichéd plot twists and turns. Without further ado, let’s dive into the “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” reviews.

The Story
“Just because it stars smart actors and isn’t aggressively dumb doesn’t automatically make it good, and while ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ works in fits and starts, its wildly inconsistent tone and Dan Fogelman’s overwritten screenplay make it too frustrating to properly enjoy. Every time one of the many plot threads hits its stride, another careens wildly out of control, leading up to a conclusion so clichéd it seems the movie has moved into parody.” — Katey Rich, Cinema Blend

Ensemble Cast and Performances
“Frequently, the zaniness stops and some genuinely impressive acting breaks out. The accomplished Moore is an obvious candidate and, even in a confined role, she delivers — here a nervous look, there a tender gesture. Cast against type, his customarily troubled characters, Gosling is all dressed up (and occasionally undressed) in a fashion guaranteed to set hearts aflutter. But the guy is too skilled to settle for a hunky stereotype; rather, he rescues the roué from cliché by adding a certain delicacy, a repressed yet palpable sensitivity. … Although not in their performing league, Carell is blessed to have a faint hint of Buster Keaton in his otherwise handsome face — a mug whose deadpan stare is fraught with comic nuance. Even the kid actor is a cut above here. Jonah Bobo brings to Robbie that adolescent knack of travelling at warp speed from deep cynicism to idealistic innocence.” — Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail

The Final Word
“It’s hard to ignore the fact that very little in the movie feels true — no one clicks as a couple, and there are carefully contrived coincidences around every corner. … But while the filmmakers bungle the romance, they handle the comedy with skillful precision. I laughed all the way through, thanks to both consistently clever dialogue and deft delivery from Carell and Gosling, who clearly relished a chance to flex his comic muscles.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, Daily News

“This film is the total of all its parts, from the string-bean beauty Tipton to the sly adolescent Bobo and all the veterans. It’s notable that no one — not even Bacon’s character — is a villain in this film. They’re all just people looking for, wrestling with and falling in love. … This is the sort of film that Oscar generally ignores come awards season. It shouldn’t. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” is a crazy smart film.” — Tom Long, Detroit News

Check out everything we’ve got on “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

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