Monday, August 1, 2011

Charming, Funny, Love

By Stella Cole, Top Critic
Hollywood, California

I’ll preface this review by saying this: I have a huge crush on Ryan Gosling. I pretty much go into heat every time I see his gorgeous face. However, I don’t love every single movie he’s ever been in. Sure, most of them are gems (Lars and the Real Girl, anyone?), but if he did a bad movie, I’d be the first to admit it. For example, I really suffered through the otherwise critically-acclaimed Blue Valentine. So now that we’ve established that I can remain impartial in the face of physical perfection, let’s move on to my review of Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was great!

Like dozens of rom-coms and chick flicks who came before, this one explores the complex relationships of a few interconnected couples. Cal (Steve Carrell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) are struggling in their marriage – she cheated, and he just gives up. Hopeless, and with nowhere to turn, Cal finds solace at the neighborhood bar, where he is impressed by the machismo of fellow bar patron, Jacob (Gosling). Jacob takes Cal under his wing, re-training him in the art of female seduction, and helping him re-capture his lost manhood. Needless to say, what Cal re-captures is his love for his wife, and his commitment to winning her back. Meanwhile, their youngest son is in “love” with his babysitter, who is in turn in love with an older guy (here’s a hint: It’s Cal!). The eldest daughter, Hannah, is in love with a stuffy boring jerk, but after being spurned, she decides to take a walk on the wild side with none other than her father’s confidant, Jacob.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, the magic is in the details. The writing is fast-paced and smart, both sad and terrifically funny in just the right ratio. The characters feel rich and authentic – how many movies have you seen lately where the characters feel convincingly like real people? Carrell and Gosling each shine in their own way – as a comedic duo, they hit all the marks without crossing the line into unbelievable. And as usual, Emma Stone is clever and likable – a nice break from the typical wooden Hollywood starlets being shoved down our throats, and her chemistry with Gosling is undeniable. The romantic scenes are a far cry from The Notebook, but will still quicken your pulse in all the right ways. In short, the film moves right along, the characters are easy to root for, and even though you probably won’t cry, you’ll definitely laugh. And if you’re anything like me, you might just swoon.

Summary: Watch for the best shirt-take-off-scene since Twilight’s New Moon. (You know the one).

Wags: 4/5

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