by Rick Grant
Screenwriter Dan Fogelman achieved a tour de force script by designing a story that’s both serious and funny simultaneously. Co-directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa orchestrate the script with brilliant precision. The film also showcases Steve Carell’s savvy acting skill. He pulled off a delicate balance between comedy and pathos with great subtlety.
In the opening scenes, the story focuses on a married couple Cal (Carell) and Emily, (Jullianne Moore) who met in high school and been married for 30 years. Cal is happy with Emily but has become complacent and set in his ways. He has no idea that Emily is so unhappy.
One night they are having a peaceful dinner at a restaurant, and Emily announces that she wants a divorce and has been unfaithful with a colleague at the school where she teaches. The news hits Cal like the emotional equivalent of the atomic bomb.
Enter Cal’s mentor, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) to teach Cal how to pick up women. The suave handsome womanizer scores every night he goes to the upscale meet market bar. Jacob is independently wealthy from an inheritance and takes Cal under his wing, reinventing Cal in his image.
The thing is, Cal still loves his wife, but plunges into the dating deep-end with a succession of flaky broads. Ironically, Jacob meets a young woman (Emma Stone) and falls madly in love with her. Ah yes, the plot thickens as the humor comes from who’s doing what to whom and how they are connected.
In a subplot, Cal’s 13 year old son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) has the hots for the babysitter, who in reality, is in love with Cal, who is oblivious to her feelings. Meanwhile, Emily is hearing through the gossip grapevine that her estranged husband has been speeding the fast lane. She feels a rush of jealously. Obviously, she is having second thoughts, especially since her son Robbie hates her boyfriend (Kevin Bacon).
So, the plots and subplots are about to converge in one of the funniest scenes ever shot, as everyone gets a reality check. Viewers will feel sympathy for
Cal but the scripts serious side is deftly mixed with the comedy in such a delicate balance, viewers are laughing one second and feeling blue the next.
Writer Fogelman never lets the momentum sag as the ironic moments keep building with a grand design to resolve all the chaos. Carell turned in a masterful performance and that kid, Jonah Bobo, who plays Cal’s son Robbie, almost steals the movie with his skillful acting.
It’s divorce American style with grudge sex and many regrets on both sides. Laughs are an integral part of the script, not just yuk bits thrown into the mix.
This is a rare dark comedy that works on all different levels to gain the audience’s complete attention and admiration.
Crazy, Stupid, Love Movie Review
by Rick Grant