Crazy, Stupid, Love: written by Dan Fogelman; directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa; starring Steve Carell (Cal Weaver), Ryan Gosling (Jacob Palmer), Julianne Moore (Emily Weaver), Emma Stone (Hannah), Analeigh Tipton (Jessica Riley), Jonah Bobo (Robbie Weaver), Marisa Tomei (Kate Taffety), Josh Groban (Richard), and Kevin Bacon (David Lindhagen) (2011): Enjoyable, simplistic trifle that seems even better than it probably is when compared to the dire state of the modern cinematic romantic comedy. Also, neither Katherine Heigl nor Jennifer Aniston are anywhere to be found.
What we get is a group of interlocking love stories. Steve Carell’s character becomes estranged from wife Julianne Moore; Carell’s 13-year-old son obsesses over the 17-year-old babysitter; the 17-year-old babysitter obsesses over Steve Carell; scoundrel Ryan Gosling takes the separated Carell under his wing to teach him how to pick up women; Julianne Moore tries to continue the fling she had with Kevin Bacon; Gosling finds himself falling in love with Emma Stone’s recent law-school graduate. Whew!
If you believe in soulmates, you’ll probably like this movie a lot. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of unforced, generally believeable humour stemming from romantic success and heartbreak, including some nice slapstick at a backyard party — several scenes take the film unflinchingly into screwball comedy territory, and Carell is good at that sort of thing.
The rest of the cast is game — Stone and Gosling especially — and the whole thing goes down pretty smoothly. You may get creeped out a bit by the babysitter/son plot thread. It really walks the line between funny and creepy. Or clever and stupid. Recommended.