Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **

Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love  **
More Articles
Silver Screen: Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story Is Stranger than Fiction
Silver Screen: Hereafter *
Silver Screen: Machete **
Silver Screen: Saw VII 3D Zero Stars
Silver Screen: Takers *1/2
Silver Screen: 127 Hours ****
Silver Screen: Bad Teacher ***
Silver Screen: Battle: Los Angeles **
Big Muddy Film Festival 33
Silver Screen: Black Swan ****
Silver Screen: Blue Valentine ****
Silver Screen: Bridesmaids ****
Silver Screen: Captain America **
Silver Screen: Cars II *1/2
Silver Screen: Case Thirty-nine *
Silver Screen: Cedar Rapids ****
Silver Screen: Charlie Saint Cloud **
Silver Screen: Cowboys & Aliens ***
Silver Screen: Despicable Me **1/2
Silver Screen: Devil ***
Silver Screen: Dinner for Schmucks *1/2
Silver Screen: Director Rusty Nails Presents... Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero
Silver Screen: Drive Angry 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Due Date ***1/2
Silver Screen: Easy A ***1/2
Silver Screen: Eat Pray Love ***
Silver Screen: Fast Five **1/2
Silver Screen: Friends with Benefits **
Silver Screen: Get Him to the Greek ***
Silver Screen: Going the Distance ***
Silver Screen: Green Lantern *1/2
Silver Screen: Grown Ups *
Silver Screen: Hall Pass *1/2
Silver Screen: Hanna ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I ***
Silver Screen: Horrible Bosses **1/2
Silver Screen: How Do You Know ***
Silver Screen: I Am Number Four *
Silver Screen: Inception ****1/2
Silver Screen: Insidious ***1/2
Silver Screen: Jackass 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Jonah Hex *
Silver Screen: Josh Hyde’s Postcards and Love Letters
Silver Screen: Just Go with It *
Silver Screen: Knight and Day *1/2
Silver Screen: Kung Fu Panda II ***
Silver Screen: Larry Crowne *1/2
Silver Screen: Let Me In ***
Silver Screen: Life as We Know It *1/2
Silver Screen: Limitless ***
Silver Screen: Megamind ***1/2
Silver Screen: Midnight in Paris ****
Silver Screen: My Soul to Take 3D 1/2*
Silver Screen: No Strings Attached ***
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity II ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paul ***1/2
Silver Screen: Piranha 3D ***1/2
Silver Screen: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides *1/2
Silver Screen: Predators ***
Silver Screen: Priest 1/2*
Silver Screen: Red ***
Silver Screen: Salt ***
Silver Screen: Scott Pilgrim versus the World ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scream IV *
Silver Screen: Sex and the City II 1/2*
Silver Screen: Shaft and Coffy: Novotny Lawrence Discusses the Blaxploitation Movement
Silver Screen: Skyline *
Silver Screen: Soldiers Speak Out: Carbondale Oscar Winner Barb Trent’s Latest Film
Silver Screen: Something Borrowed *
Silver Screen: Source Code ****1/2
Silver Screen: Splice ****
Silver Screen: Super Eight ****
Silver Screen: The A-Team **1/2
Silver Screen: The Academy Honors... The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
Silver Screen: The Adjustment Bureau *1/2
Silver Screen: The American ****
Silver Screen: The Audubon Trilogy: Fugitive Narratives and the Drama of the Natural World
Silver Screen: The Dilemma *1/2
Silver Screen: The Expendables **1/2
Silver Screen: The Fighter ****
Silver Screen: The Green Hornet **1/2
Silver Screen: The Hangover Part II **1/2
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The King's Speech ****
Silver Screen: The Last Airbender *
Silver Screen: The Last Exorcism ***
Silver Screen: The Lincoln Lawyer ***
Silver Screen: The Mechanic **1/2
Silver Screen: The Next Three Days ***
Silver Screen: The Other Guys ***
Silver Screen: The Rite *
Silver Screen: The Roommate *1/2
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 24, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 3, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , March 31, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 16, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 23, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 30, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card August 19, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card August 26, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card August 5, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card July 8, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card September 2, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card September 9, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 14, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 21, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 28, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 7, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 16, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 2, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 9, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 10, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 17, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 13, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 20, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 27, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, July 14, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, July 21, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, July 28, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, July 7, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 16, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 23, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 30, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 9, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 10, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 24, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 3, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 12, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 19, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 26, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 5, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 11, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 18, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 4, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 14, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 21, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 28, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 7, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 01, 2020 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 15, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 22, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 29, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 10, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 17, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 24, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Social Network ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Sorcerer's Apprentice **
Silver Screen: The Tourist **
Silver Screen: The Town ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse *1/2
Silver Screen: Thor ***
Silver Screen: Toy Story III ****
Silver Screen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon *1/2
Silver Screen: True Grit ****1/2
Silver Screen: Unknown ***
Silver Screen: Unstoppable **
Silver Screen: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ****
Silver Screen: Water for Elephants ***
Silver Screen: X-Men: First Class ***
Silver Screen: Your Highness ***1/2
Silver Screen: Zookeeper *


Who:
What:
Where:
When:
Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **
Bryan Miller

“They're still making kids read The Scarlet Letter?” Julianne Moore's woman-in-midlife-crisis character asks her son in Crazy, Stupid, Love. “Hasn't anybody written anything better?”

That's a brassy line for a movie as abysmally written as Crazy, Stupid, Love, an intermittently agonizing parade of cliché s and character types that exist only in the world of cinema. This resolutely unromantic romantic comedy squanders an excellent cast through a series of tired and tiresome scenarios that largely exist to service a final-act twist that tries to lend the too-familiar storylines a veneer of unity, when in fact the big reveal at the end serves only as a distraction from the last humdrum hour and forty minutes.

Steve Carell stars as Cal, a likeable but boring character whose generic suburban travails render him dull not only to his restless wife Emily (Moore), but the audience as well. She bangs a smarmy coworker (Kevin Bacon) and then asks Cal for a divorce, a request he dutifully grants. Now single, lonely, and out on the town, he hangs out at a bar and strikes up an unlikely friendship with local lothario Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Jacob promises to fix Cal up-- insert inevitable shopping montage-- and teach him to meet women.

The family romantic troubles even extend to their teenage son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who nurses a secret crush on his pretty seventeen-year-old babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). He reveals his secret and is politely spurned, which inspires him to try to win her affection with ever more grandiose gestures. Our lovely babysitter, meanwhile, is infatuated with an older man-- Cal.

Meanwhile, Gosling's rakish Jacob finds himself inexplicably vulnerable around a beautiful but high-strung law student, Hannah (Emma Stone).

Crazy, Stupid, Love drifts along, following four tangentially related but isolated stories, spending seemingly arbitrary amounts of time on each, before that big reveal at the end, in which the film positions itself as The Usual Suspects of romantic comedies. The twist at the end definitely comes as a surprise, mostly because it's a fairly silly and unnecessary turn that adds nothing to the story and is also viable only through the cheap tricks of limited perspective and a lot of implausible vagueness in the dialogue. The twist ending becomes the conclusion to all the individual stories, even when some of the plotlines never went anywhere in the first place.

The plot twist doesn’t sink the movie, though, any more than it could save it. The root problem is that the script strikes nearly all false notes, and none of the characters ring true. Cal and Emily's sudden and very chaotic divorce is delivered almost as a punchline, and their two young children-- a fourteen-year-old and a pre-teen-- react almost nonchalantly, as if their lives aren't at all affected. It helps to quietly validate the parents' selfishness, it's only one among a host of misfires with the child characters, who are clumsily written. Screenwriter Dan Fogelman falls into the classic trap of trying to make his young characters sound unique and smart by simply writing their dialogue as if they were adults. Meanwhile, it's hard to tell what's more implausible: that a fourteen-year-old boy would try to get the attention of a girl by constructing an elaborate set and acting out a scene from The Scarlet Letter, or that the girl in question would be attracted to middle-aged middle-manager Cal, whose own storyline casts him as fatally dull.

Despite the strong cast-- Carell does nice work, as does newcomer Tipton, along with underused bit players Bacon, Marisa Tomei, and Beth Littleford-- the only part of the movie that actually works is the relationship between Jacob and Hannah. The storyline is easily the movie's most uninspired, but Gosling and Stone are great together, and they share the one scene in the movie in which the exchanges feel genuine from start to finish. The lovely Stone receives the least screentime of any of the major characters, which is unfortunate. But the success of their sequences shows again that it's execution of the small moments, not originality of plotlines or flashiness of gimmicks, that make romantic comedies work.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a semi-ambitious misfire, and surprisingly atonal and flat considering it's directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, writers of the amazing dark comedies Bad Santa and I Love You, Phillip Morris (and codirectors of the latter). Bad Santa is a divisive cult classic, but I Love You, Phillip Morris is a lost gem that deals wonderfully with the intersection of comedy and awkward romantic entanglements. Here, they get neither element right.