This movie matched two out of three (wanna’ guess which two those are? *grin*) of the definitions in the titular words right – down to a science even, but the third, and most important appears to be missing from the story’s message. Its purpose is twofold. One story tells how a quarter of a century marriage can break apart without the proper attention, the other involves a smooth-talking, 21st century type Casanova who (wait for it…) finally finds himself falling head over heels in love.
For twenty-five years, she’s been his soul mate… his true love… his wife… but Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) never saw the bombshell his wife drops on him during their dinner date coming. First instead of ordering a simple dessert, Emily (Julianne Moore) announces she wants a divorce. On the car ride home, the conversation is one-sided; Emily rambles on while Cal sits silently in shock in response to her confounding omission, then she confesses to Cal that it’s as a result of another man (Kevin Bacon)! (This inspires Cal to jump out of the car.) Depressed and questioning just where he went wrong, Cal leaves without so much as asking for a chance to work through things. Walking out of their house that same night – the house where he and Emily created a home for them and their children (Jonah Bobo, Joey King), Cal rents a small, generic apartment and attempts to move on. But life soon becomes a balancing act of weekends with the kids – and Cal quickly learns he is letting down his son – and finding out how the other spouse is from the kids… and Cal decides the nest way to cope is to sit night after night at the bar while drowning his sorrows.
Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) is a charming ladies man. He knows, not only how to make a good first impression – which is all he cares about but just what to say to the pretty girl sitting at the bar. Jacob’s frequent nights out on the town leads to his meeting the forlorn Cal. Instead of putting himself and every other bar patron through yet another night of Cal bemoaning his situation to anyone within listening distance, Jacob decides to help him get back into the… umm… “game” of how best to… charm the ladies. Cal’s a skeptic but Jacob knows the rules and he will see that Cal makes his wife regret the day she ever kicked Call out. The only snag in Jacob’s plans is Hannah (Emma Stone) – the one girl bold enough to bluntly refuse his advances… and she isn’t about to take any of Jacob’s nonsense.
Although it really wasn’t one that deserved any acclaim, this romantic-comedy received five-star reviews from a good number of mainstream critics, and unfortunately, it’s not difficult to understand their tolerance of this romantic comedy (a genre they usually cannot criticize enough). One well-respected Christian site claimed that this was just on the verge of being an R-rated comedy, and although I saw this one on ClearPlay (thank goodness), from the implications that were not cut and then my reading up on the adult material, I can understand why. This movie is running amuck with skewed topics and immoralities and yet… somehow, I enjoyed it. The fact that much of the movie is based off the premise that it’s “okay” to mess around outside of marriage – whether you’ve never been married or have been – as long as it makes one happy is so far from the principles in life (to say nothing of Biblical commandments) that we should strive for makes this less-than-good entertainment. Fortunately, the second half of the movie is much superior over the first – or maybe it’s more like the last fourth of it. At least a dozen scenes take place at a club which allows for a setting where less-then-ideal conversations and random pick-ups are frequent. There is a teenage babysitter love triangle subplot that was tacky and not handled well (she is crushing on Cal). It was actually resolved decently minus one offence on the writer’s part – but that one “minor” offense was a doozy.
Additionally in the big-star cast list, we see Marisa Tomei and newcomer Analeigh Tipton, whom everyone raved about. I thought everyone gave a stellar performance (including the always fabulous Emma Stone, The Help) despite not being a Steve Carell fan. There are some sweet, sappy moments and I loved seeing youngster Joey King (Ramona & Beezus) in something again. When the script is good, it is good, but… there is almost too much appalling about the character’s behavior in the story to make this even recommendable. If you have the ClearPlay system Crazy, Stupid, Love does entice some genuine laughs, otherwise, the best advice I could give you is this: steer clear of this one - it is crazy.