Crazy, Stupid, Love? No, Yes, and Absolutely Not.

The latest Steve Carell midlife crisis vehicle stalls after the first scene.

udfp 14253 Crazy, Stupid, Love? No, Yes, and Absolutely Not.

Gosling and Carell.

What to say about an uphill slog called Crazy, Stupid, Love? It’s not nearly crazy enough to clear the clogged arteries of summer comedies, and when the love appears, it’s in all the wrong places. Oh well, at least they nailed the stupid part.

This movie is so hapless that not even two directors could get it right. Guided with a sledgehammer by the team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and written with a No. 2 soft-lead kindergarten pencil by Dan Fogelman, this snore stars a number of  talented people who should have known better. After 25 years of marriage, square suburban doofus Cal (Steve Carell, who invents these roles as vehicles, and produced this one to prove it) is devastated to learn that his wife, Emily, (Julianne Moore) is committing adultery with her boss (Kevin Bacon) and filing  for divorce. Their creepy 13-year-old son is in love with his 17-year-old babysitter, but she’s in love with Cal, who doesn’t know it. Drowning in self-pity, Cal lands in dating hell, hanging out at a local bar for the depressed and displaced, sipping vodka and cranberry with a straw. A supercilious stranger and self-anointed King of the Babe Magnets named Jacob (a dismally miscast Ryan Gosling) says, “I don’t know whether I should help you or euthanize you,” but takes on the task of helping Cal get his mojo back while sticking him with a bar bill for $837.

This is the kind of movie in which real men drink scotch instead of Cosmos and wear suede instead of Ralph Lauren. After all the counseling and all the hours at the gym and the new wardrobe, the woman Cal chooses to try out his new sex appeal is Marisa Tomei, who turns out to be his son’s eighth grade English teacher. Meanwhile Jacob, who is supposed to be all man (but with a weakness for buying things on the Home Shopping Network), blows his own cover when he meets a girl he calls a “game changer,” played by Flavor of the Month Emma Stone. It’s the first time he’s ever taken a woman to bed and talked himself to sleep. Of course the “game changer” turns out to be the movie’s only big surprise. I’d be a cad to reveal her identity before you have a chance to head for the doors marked “Exit.” From here, this thumping snooze rattles and woofs its way into a crazy quilt of mistaken  identity with almost the  entire cast punching it out in a massive donnybrook in Cal’s back yard, where he sometimes shows up in the middle of the  night to water his  old rose bushes. Before it all ends at a junior-high graduation that has to be seen to be believed, they all grow up, learn to be  better people and discover the true meaning of love in  a finale that can only be described as utterly preposterous.

None of this is much fun to watch. The pace drags. The acting is without contrast or color. Farce is not Ryan Gosling’s style; he looks like he’s coming down with something contagious. Steve Carell plays this kind of nerdy, squarely dressed, aging dweeb in his sleep. He has a patent on the role, but hasn’t got a clue about how to make it look anything more than ossified. Crazy Stupid Love is an alleged comedy comprising currents of disconnected irony. For it to work those threads should meet in some believable fashion. Instead, they unravel faster than the drawstring on a pair of 32-inch gym shorts worn by a man with a 42-inch waistline.

rreed@observer.com

CRAZY STUPID LOVE

Running time 117 minutes

Written by Dan Fogelman

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore

1/4

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    this is a very undeserving harsh critique again at least a decent movie.  

  2. AAA says:

    “a dismally miscast Ryan Gosling”

    That’s how I know you’re wrong, but keep living the dream, Rex.

  3. HoustonRufus says:

    You need to just stop reviewing.  While divided on the movie, every review I’ve read has heaped praise on Gosling.  I’m still not sure why you even do this.

  4. Ben Pettit says:

    Rex, your an idiot. Observer fire his ass. He sucks.

  5. Jordan says:

    How is the Observer still letting this guy work? He also dissed The Tree of Life. Clearly he has no idea what a good movie is.

  6. Lloyd Dobler says:

    Guess I’ll watch “Myra Breckenridge” this weekend instead.

  7. Phoenix says:

    Having already seen this film twice at two preview screenings, I have to wonder what happened to you before you got to the theater, because you and I saw VERY different films. Did you walk into the wrong one by accident? Your review was absolutely merciless – and by the way, completely wrong. This movie was fun, it was funny, and one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had at the movies this year – and I have seen more than my fair share. Anyone seeing this film will not be wasting their money – far from it. (By the way, Kevin Bacon did not play Julianne Moore’s boss – he was a fellow co-worker in accounting.)

  8. Harryzulu says:

    Time and time again, Rex delivers a clear, poignant, and in this case, totally apt review, and the response here is vastly negative.  Attacking the critic is simply childish, and in no way discredits the original review.  Frankly, the intolerance for honest discourse is depressing.  I truly believe the average person has little ability to discern a good film from a bad one anymore…they are mentally anesthesized by the projected image.  Proof: there are actually masses of people that think “The Hangover” was a good movie.  The end is near.

    1. HoustonRufus says:

      Fair enough.  Mr. Reed is certainly entitled to his opinion.  I just don’t know that I find his reviews very “critical” and certainly not relevant, the number of comments notwithstanding.  His track record speaks for itself.  I’ll never forget his dismissal of Blue Velvet.  It certainly told me all I needed to know about Mr. Reed’s perspective.  Likewise, his dismissal of Tree of Life only added to my already low opinion of his ability to offer reviews I find helpful or insightful.  Given all this, I should have never even bothered with this most recent review.  Don’t mistake me.  This movie is no masterpiece.  But, as usual, I find Mr. Reed’s review so outside the curve as to be slightly whacked.  Nothing to see here, so I should have avoided his review.  We clearly approach film differently.  Lesson learned.  I’ll leave Mr. Reed to sulk and scorn in his corner going forward. 

    2. Houstonrufus says:

      Oh, and The Hangover was a good movie (the sequel, a waste of time and money).  Good movies come in all shapes and sizes and genres.  I’m glad I don’t limit my film-going to such narrow thinking. 

    3. Array528 says:

      AMEN! Ironic, since I am a atheist. Still, I agree immensely, this and that colossal piece of trash “THE HANGOVER” were fucking garbage… keep at it Rex.

  9. Mitchfork says:

    Anyone who has ever made himself a drink knows that they’re drink old-fashioned and not scotch. This review is inept. 

  10. Mitchfork says:

    Amongst other blatant factual inaccuracies in this review, I should add. It should be noted that of 40 critic reviews on Metacritic, Mr. Reed is the only person to give it a bad review. Saw it this afternoon, and Ryan Gosling was perfectly cast. 

  11. Michael O'Farrell says:

    I have yet to see “Crazy Stupid Love” but I tend to trust Mr. Reed’s assessment of the film. Having sat through “Bad Teacher” (truly horrible) and “Friends with Benefits” (a depressingly cynical, crass and badly written “romantic” comedy) , I don’t plan on seeing Steve Carrell play another in his apparently endless variations of the hapless nerd/sad sack type. The trailer for the film failed to impress me. I don’t always agree with Mr. Reed but the man is a good writer and a fine critic in my book. The comments on here that he needs to find another job and that The NY Observer should fire him are hysterical. I truly believe the bar has been set extremely low for what american movie audiences will accept as quality entertainment both in movies and television programming. Great comedies are a rare thing in this day and age but today’s clueless moviegoers wouldn’t know an outstanding drama or comedy if they stumbled on it.

  12. Cathy Marino says:

    I saw this film today.  Like most people commenting I wouldn’t expect a 5 star review, but the complete contempt is misplaced.  What makes the 13 year old creepy?  The fact that he masturbates or that he doesn’t play games to win the heart of the “woman” he loves?”

    The film is flawed, yes, but it portrays divorce in a real way.  One spouse blindsided but eventually aware that a marriage fails because of the actions of two people, and the other stunned that the life they were leading wasn’t so bad after all.  

    A lesson in knowing out hearts sometimes know better than our heads what the universe has in store for us.

  13. Jambubby says:

    This is not really film criticism at all.  Its an angry sounding summary of a movie.  I’m not really sure what I just read.  Did Rex Reed even see the film?

  14. Looks damn good. Funny actors, hot women (Emma Stone, Marrisa Tomei, AND
    Jullianne Moore?! UNF). If it pulls off the script, it will be a home
    run.

  15. Describing this film as an up hill slog is being polite. Let’s be honest. This film sucked.
    Rex, you are among the few who got it right. I read many of the other reviews of this film slacked jawed. As of now, Rex, you are my north star for guidance on which film I will be attending. Thanks!

  16. Pamela Landy says:

    I completely agree with everything you wrote, Rex Reed.  The movie felt like torture — especially considering we had to stare at the creepy 13 year olds face for the last frames.  

  17. Sangria says:

    I completely disagree with this myopic and humorless review. The theater that I saw it in with 3 of my 40 something friends and a nice mixture of everythings were howling with laughter, surprise, and yes, tears for the pathos. Perhaps no masterpiece but not the slog that this spoiler has described. Perhaps you should go into law where the twisting of details is rewarded handsomely.

  18. Rex Regnat says:

    The best review I’ve read of this poor movie, which I walked out of last night. The son is absolutely a ‘creepy’ character. No, not because he masturbates or has crushes. Because he is portrayed as a barely pubescent boy with the fixations of an adult stalker. Just one of the many unrealistic plot devices dreamed up by a screenwriter out of touch with human nature (maybe because he usually writes for animated toys and cars).

    Too many other contrivances to mention… this is very much a movie of the moment, where there are sketchy attempts to ground shallow ideas and cheap farce (Marisa Tomei’s screaming scene in front of shocked PTA parents – right) with overtones of ‘real’ problems (loneliness, alienation, divorce, actual emotional pain). It’s ok, everything works out in the end, like a good episode of ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Hey – wouldn’t that be perfect for Carrel!

    Keep up the good work Rex – you nailed this one.

  19. Peter says:

    Rex !! You sound like a bitter old queen.. oh wait, well never mind..
    This was a great script, spot on casting, well shot, edited etc. Steve Carell turned in a touching performance, Emma Hope was in top form, Julianne Moore hit all the right notes, and Ryan Gosling showed depth of emotion that you clearly don’t give him credit for.
    To Rex and all the naysayers; this is a romantic comedy, can’t you just let it be, that?

  20. Veronica says:

    Yeah, pretty sure someone punched you in the face for no reason before you saw this movie because it was fantastic and your whole review just sounds whiny and pathetic. Plus there was hardly any real critical review in it. You just summarized the movie and whined with no reason as to why you were whining. You might want to relearn some of the basic journalism ideas in terms of reviews. Idiot.

  21. Green_tea 2sday says:

    lol it’s obvious to tell when a movie a demographic for woman and women don’t understand why men don’t enjoy it… it was a very generic movie thought end caught me by surprised… it wasn’t realistic at all nor deep… perfect for the young female generation..