2011. 118 minutes. Rated R.
Quote: “I will never stop trying. Because when you find the one… you never give up.”
Steve Carrel plays Hal Weaver, a smart, good-on-paper, 40-something dude with all his ducks in a row: a great family, pretty wife, job, nice home. Julianne Moore plays Hal’s wife, Emily Weaver. On what seems like a VERY typical date night for the couple, she steamrolls him with a frank divorce request, in the restaurant, while they are eating. Poor Hal. The scene cuts to them driving home (she’s driving), while he stares into oblivion looking numb. In a very amusing, perhaps slightly unhinged comic twist, after discussing candidly the whens and hows of her affair, he opens the door and allows himself to roll out of the moving car.
Scenes like this worked well in what eventually becomes trite and predictable. These being:
- Speech scene in the auditorium reconciling past behaviors
- Hal’s random revenge sex/one-night stand with a woman who just so happens to be his kid’s teacher, and who he just so happens to travel with his estranged wife in the next two scenes to chat-it-up-with during Meet the Parents night at Robbie’s school. The perpetually single teacher, played by Marisa Tomei, is incredibly unnecessary as a peripheral character. Far too high-strung for the tone of the rest of the film, her awkward and predictable parent/teacher scene felt out of place, like it was trying too hard to be ironic.
There are more self-conscious scenes like this in Crazy, Stupid, Love that left me feeling bored. However, Carell’s portrayal of the hapless Hal, the slapstick fight scene at the end, and the son, Robbie, played by the likable Jonah Bobo, were entertaining at the very least. For all of his integrity, at times, the Robbie character felt unnatural to me. Would a twelve-year-old be that comfortable with his own dorkiness and go to such lengths to embarrass himself? Robbie’s character was definitely true to himself, and that was charming, but it felt bogus and almost spoon-fed. I still rooted for him the whole time, and enjoyed some of his scenes. Most poignant were the scenes with him and Hal, when you could tell the sense of shame and let-down Robbie felt from watching his dad’s pushover reactions to the divorce, the marriage, his existence.
Ryan Gosling’s suave womanizer antics were lame to me when I watched alone, though when watching with a male on a second viewing, I was made to appreciate the authenticity of his role (thanks Peter/husband.) Gosling captures the essence of the Metrosexual douche-bag who is supposedly hot enough to nail all of these chicks night after night. Oh, and he can do this because he doesn’t have to report to work the next day. Cause, you know, it’s L.A. and he has a trust fund. Eck. Poor little rich guy, right? As soon as I found myself gagging at his promiscuous antics, he was suddenly swept off his feet, meeting “the girl-next-door” (Emma Stone) at the bar. Inevitably, she changes (gag) his free-wheeling lifestyle. Because, she’s a redhead and super fiery? No, probably because she calls him out on his BS and turns him down a couple of times. Who knows. Another curious plot point was why Jacob is so obsessed with helping Hal, except that maybe he feels that Hal’s pathos is disturbing his “game” when he overhears Hal’s drunk ramblings about his (soon-to-be-ex-wife). Maybe he feels that he needs a “project.” Or, maybe he genuinely wants to help (’cause douchebags are normally that generous.)
In any event, help he does, transforming Hal into a desirable object of desire. Oh, and not just to grown women, either. In yet another banal twist, Robbie’s older babysitter (who Robbie happens to be in love with) is infatuated with Hal. So much so, upon hearing about the separation, she sends him naked pics of herself. Much to her father’s dismay, I might add. ( * read above-entertaining slapstick fight scene.)
Despite the hack plot and two-dimensional characters, there are some entertaining scenes and the acting is alright. In my opinion, this was Julianne Moore at her worst, and I love watching her so, ouch on that one. If you are looking for easy candy, or feeling lovey-dovey (you are one month into your new relationship), check it out.