Crazy, Stupid, Love is naturally about relationships. The one which consumes most of the film focuses on Steve Carell and Julianne Moore who have been married for a very long 25 years. They are stuck in a rut. They look exhausted and seem to just be going to through the motions of their monotonous relationship. In fact, they are getting a divorce. Carell moves out and immediately finds the local bar. It is here that Ryan Gosling notices him as a very sad case of a man and assumes a Fairy Godmother role of personal improvement. He initiates new clothes, a new hairstyle, and a new way of thinking on the newly single and confused Carell.
Most of this seems like a standard run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, which for some part it is. But the script is a bit savvier than to just throw formulaic plot movements at the audience. The chemistry between Carell and Moore works. Carell reminds you of his Dan in Real Life character a bit and both actors really show a weight on their shoulders which their marriage has become. What does not work is the Ryan Gosling situation and how he latches on to Carell. The motivation is lacking and the script really never bothers to explain it. Naturally, the womanizing Gosling meets and falls for Emma Stone and this relationship does not work either although they share a quality late night scene together. In fact, the Emma Stone character dangerously approaches Sweet Home Alabama territory as she throws away a decent guy (Josh Groban’s first film appearance) for the womanizing chauvinist.
Unfortunately, what was once a real and tough script at points collapses into farce and a Three’s Company misunderstanding at the film’s climax and becomes so unbelievable that I was a bit sad that Carell and Moore’s marital problems are reduced to stock slapstick. Another let down is the inclusion of Marisa Tomei in the cast. It has nothing to do with her character, but what is Tomei doing in such an underwritten and one dimensional role? I thought her acting comeback in The Wrestler would have saved her from something as minimal as this.
On one hand, I praise this script for probing much deeper than the average insipid rom com. However, it severely plummets at key points and in a conniving manner manipulates certain characters which spoil its originality and wit. Also, what is going on with the movie poster? That particular scene in no way whatsoever represents this film. This was a particularly poor choice by the advertising department.