With nearly as many plot point as goofy romances competing for audience attention, Crazy, Stupid, Love feverishly navigates a cocktail of lust and infatuation boasting far too many narrative ingredients. But when the romantic comedy takes time out to relax just a little, there are a few comedic surprises that get to catch their breath and collectively prevail.
Sorted out among these bursting at the seams intertwined, hit-and-run and occasionally colliding plot threads are at least six stormy relationships. That is, if you count the imaginary ones as well. Central to this whirlwind of mix ‘n match mating is Steve Carell and Julianne Moore as Cal and Emily respectively. A suburban couple with two kids who have been married like nearly forever since falling in love as high school sweethearts, they’re about to hit that marital bump in the road called midlife crisis. And with Emily announcing out of the blue to a blindsided, broken-hearted spouse, that she not only wants out of the marriage ASAP, but has also been getting it on with an eager co-worker (Kevin Bacon).
And while Cal’s son is perpetually pining for the babysitter and she in turn has a secret crush on Dad, this abruptly dumped husband rather much too meekly volunteers to depart the disrupted family premises. Though it’s not long before he’s reluctantly hitting the dating scene at a local club. But lacking even conversational let alone seduction skills, a miserable Cal annoys everyone around him at his chosen watering hole, foremost messing up the game of the slick resident predator, Jacob (Ryan Gosling).
Peeved that whining Cal has disturbed the seductive mood that he’s has perfected on his claimed party animal turf, Jacob volunteers to teach Cal how to ‘rediscover your manhood’ and ‘make your wife rue the day she dumped you.’ Which entails literally slapping some sense into him, and barking orders in the nude over at the local gym locker room, don’t ask. Emma Stone also turns up on occasion as a really angry law student unrequited in love, who hits on Jacob to vent her rage with an episode of sarcastic stranger sex. Along with similar female sexual aggressor Marisa Tomei, in the wildest vignette of all as a horny upscale barfly.
Crazy, Stupid Love may leave you feeling either crazy with laughter or, well, stupid about this oddball romance. Depending upon your own personal assessment of the wackiness at hand, and how you relate to an ultimately one-size-fits-all PG-13 remorseful family values romp, dressed up in sassy sexed up clothing.
2 1/2 stars