Crazy Stupid Love has a pedigree and a purpose. The duo directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have made a sophomore film as idiosyncratic in its comic structure as their first film I Love You Phillip Morris. CSL plays like a movie movie, where nearly everything is a cliché and yet it’s original cliché.
The only bar we see in the movie where Steve Carrel (Cal) and Ryan Gosling (Jacob) meet reeks of every pick-up bar that ever existed in cinema. It’s stone walls and colorful arrangement of bottles constantly look different and busy. There’s some confusion of motives between some of the characters and some of the others. The directors keep the audience focused on that fact so when CSL reveals a couple of twists we never see it coming.
Cal’s getting a divorce from Julianne Moore (Emily, his wife since high school) and Jacob’s an experienced Lothario who wants to impart his knowledge to Cal. Jacob also attracts the eye of Emma Stone (Hannah) who’s gone from high school roles to post grad nicely. There’s a few more oddballs in the mix but the less you go in expecting love triangles (Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon also co-star) the more conventionally CSL unwinds.
Ficarra and Requa give CSL a sense of realness as opposed to reality. Typical romantic comedies have the most ludicrous pretense for people to hook up whereas Crazy Stupid Love at least operates in a world where things might conceivable in a thousand years happen. There’s also a lot of yellow. It’s a good move for Carrel because it allows him to mine his comic talent rather than hype his comedic style as in his previous over the top roles (Date Night, Get Smart). Gosling also shows commanding charisma for more pure Hollywood product after shining in several indie films.
– Michael Bergeron