MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
Cal (Steve Carrell) reaches a sad midlife crisis when his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), admits she’s been seeing another man and wants a divorce, which Cal dejectedly accepts. Confident lady’s man, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) discovers Cal looking suitably pathetic in a bar and takes him under his wing to bring a new direction to Cal’s life and a chance for Cal to discover whether it feels right to move forward in his life or try to ‘win back’ his first and only life. A nice array of side plots surrounding Cal’s family tie together well, even if they can feel a little contrived.
Steve Carrell is very much in his comfort zone as the slightly pathetic loser you can’t help but feel sympathy with. Gosling shows some muscle (literally) for a less serious role but none of the characters or actors particularity stand out as hilarious and that’s the main fault that stops this film scoring higher.
I’m a big fan of Steve Carrell, being a big fan of The Office (in which after 7 years he’s recently left his role as boss, Michael Scott) and he always tends to produce the goods even if the film is a bit of a letdown, Date Night and Get Smart being two recent examples. While he does a nice enough job here, you feel with some better material he could have really shined as this likeable cuckold trying new things.
It’s a rather lengthy comedy at 120 minutes and it could have really done with a bit of a trim. But on the plus side, the plot’s direction always feels nicely unpredictable and manages to sway away from generic conventions. It ends nicely with a good mixture of silly and just a touch of sentimentality. There’s certainly enough to enjoy and once it’s all over, it feels perfectly satisfying.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is out on 23rd September in the UK. Running time: 118 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.
Review by David Rank