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Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love follows Cal (Steve Carrell), a man who's split from his wife of 25 years (Julianne Moore) and has lost sight of who he is as a man. He soon meets professional bachelor, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who attempts to help him through this crisis. However, Jacob is facing a challenge, as he's fallen for lawyer, Hannah (Emma Stone).

The film features an incredibly well written script from frequent Disney screen-writer, Dan Fogleman with sharp dialogue, believable characters and a fair amount of laughs. It won't come as a surprise to some that it's written by a man associated with Disney, as at points the film does hang on the balance of being slightly over-cutsie, the cynical amongst you may even say sappy. However, I never found this a huge issue and actually thought it was quite sweet.

There's also competent direction from Glen Ficarra and John Recqua, the pair that brought us the very underrated, I Love You Phillip Morris. Here, the humour is slightly more toned down but it does build up to a spectacularly amusing climax. Although, before it gets to that we have to deal with a lot of Steve Carrell's Cal moping around in bars which can become slightly tiresome. Crazy, Stupid, Love might also have benefited from being a 20 minutes shorter, many scenes feel like padding in order to try and get to the meaning at the heart of the film.

Crazy, Stupid, Love boasts some excellent performances. Lead by the ever-reliable Steve Carrell, who does the feeling sorry for himself act well, combined with some very funny self-deprecating humour. Carrell also performs strongly in the more emotionally-heavy scenes with Julianne Moore - in particular one where she calls just to hear the sound of his voice, unbeknown to her that he's outside the house. Moore herself is perfect, although the character spends a lot of the time sulking she does get a chance to show a more fun side, and has the great line "You know when I told you I had to work late? I actually went to see the new Twilight movie by myself and it was SO bad!". As frequently mentioned in the film Moore's character is the perfect mix of cute and sexy, as is co-star Emma Stone. Unfortunately, Stone feels a bit underused but she's incredibly watchable when she does appear and one of the strongest scenes is when her character gets to know Jacob - she also does a wonderful Lauren Bacall impression, spoofing the old 80's High Point Coffee ads - see here. Ryan Gosling (who's battling himself at the box office with Drive) is tremendous as the smooth Jacob - there's a montage where he takes Cal shopping which is one of the strongest scenes of the film. Gosling also handles the softer, romantic elements well and the chemistry with Stone is completely convincing.

There's also fun appearances from Kevin Bacon (and a nice little tribute to his Footloose days) and a hilarious scene-stealing turn from Marisa Tomei. There's even Josh Groban, which was a bit of odd casting...

Although, Crazy, Stupid, Love can be seen as a bit cutsie and overlong, it's a very nice film that doesn't rely on low-level humour. It's well written and competently directed, with top performances, and a good message at it's heart... it just takes a while to get to.

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