Movie Mind Says:  Add to Bottom of Netflix Delivery List

If You Like This You Should Watch:  Sideways, Duets
Better Than:  Valentine’s Day
Worse Than:  Little Miss Sunshine

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore

It’s become apparent that Steve Carell has been able to develop his niche on the big screen. He’s essentially the male version of Jennifer Anniston, only much funnier. Give him credit for being willing to step into the Hollywood void of a charismatic male actor who can make a pretty damn good living playing the victim. He does it like no one we’ve seen before. The problem is, it’s starting to get a little irritating. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still love the guy. I think he’s hilarious. But I’m hoping that sometime in the near future he decides to play something other than the wounded, naïve, woe-is-me character he’s been recycling since The Office. With that being said, Crazy, Stupid, Love is not a bad flick. It’s somewhere in between decent and good. There are quite a few very funny parts and a couple of plot twists that aren’t entirely obvious from the get-go. For that, it’s worth you renting and getting a couple of giggles for the night. Unfortunately there are a couple ginormous errors in the film that I can’t get over and thus prevent it from becoming more than a run of the mill romantic comedy.

Exhibit A in the case for holding the film back is Ryan Gosling. This was one of the most miscast roles in the history of film. Gosling’s character, Jacob Palmer, is supposed to be the ladies’ man of all ladies men. He’s supposed to make women swoon and men want to be him. He’s about as convincing in that role as Tiger Woods is contrite. I mean, Gosling in The Notebook, I get it. I believe that. But come on – there are so many better options than him for such a crucial centerpiece in the film’s story. Bradley Cooper would have been the perfect fit in the role but after his Hangover success his price tag must have been too high. I’m really not picking straws here because a lot of the movie hinges on his ability to be believable and he winds up being laughable. He reminded me of that weird dude in the short-live series called The Pickup Artist. Let’s just say there’s a reason most of you never heard of that show.

The other major problem I had was that the storyline took the usual Hollywood turn into cheeseball town which happens to be right where it started losing me. Initially, it was a cute story about how Cal Weaver (Carell), a generally nice guy and kind of a dork, gets walked out on by his wife of 20-some-odd years. He struggles to pick up the pieces and learn how to get back in the game before deciding what it is he really wants. Along comes Gosling’s character who turns Weaver into an older clone of himself. I can’t help but think how much smoother this conversion would have happened if it wasn’t Gosling doing the converting! Sorry, I digress. Because we’re focused on this transformation, we aren’t expecting the underlying plot twists that come along in the shadows. The story takes a final interesting turn at the end in an attempt to come full circle, but the writers focus more on developing feel-good romantic bliss rather than the story itself.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is yet another case of the “almost’s”, or the “coulda-woulda-shoulda’s”.  If only they had fought the urge to use Garry Marshall’s lame Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve intertwining love-story formula as the driving force behind the story, then it could have been one of the better romantic comedies in a while. Carell is the perfect guy to play the scorned, Julienne Moore is a great fit for the cougar-esque scorner, and the remaining pieces were there with some amusing side-stories and plot twists. A cornball final 20 minutes of the film and one horrible casting sent this one in the doldrums of forgettable. We’ll call this one the case of the Gosling and only think what could have been.
Submitted 1-20-12

Interesting Cameo Appearance: Josh Groban (the talented musician who is morphing into a cameo-specialist (also see his appearance in The Office) as Richard, the over-achieving and ultra-boring former boyfriend of Hannah.

Memorable Quotes:
Jacob: I’m going to help you rediscover your manhood. Do you have any idea where you could have lost it?

Jacob: I’m wildly unhappy, and I’m trying to buy it, and it’s not working.

Jacob: I don’t know whether to help you or euthanize you.

Robbie: Demi Moore is 15 years older than Ashton Kutcher. They seem happy together.

Jacob: The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise.

Kate: What do you want to do with me?
Cal: I want to show you off to my ex-wife and make her really jealous!

Emily: When I told you when I had to work late? I really went to go see the new Twilight movie by myself, and it was so bad.

Jacob: Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?
Cal: No.
Jacob: Oh, ok. In that case, you’ve got no right to wear New Balance sneakers, ever.

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