Title: Crazy, Stupid, Love
Directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (‘I Love You Phillip Morris’)
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon
Sometimes the people we thought we knew can turn around and surprise us. That can be said about both Steve Carell and his character, Cal Weaver, in the new Warner Bros. romantic comedy-drama ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love;’ not only does Cal completely change his lifestyle and personality after he found out his wife cheated on him and wants to end their relationship, but the former ‘Office’ star proved what a diverse actor he can be with the role. Both Cal and Carell were thrown into unfamiliar territory, but ultimately thrived in their new atmospheres.
‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ follows Cal (played by Carell), who seems to be leading the perfect life with a strong marriage and family, good job and nice house. That is, until his wife of 25 years, Emily (portrayed by Julianne Moore), unexpectedly tells him that she slept with one of her co-workers, David Lindhagen (played by Kevin Bacon), and she wants a divorce.
After moving out and trying to start a new life, Cal attempts to integrate back into the dating world by going to a bar. There he meets player Jacob Palmer (portrayed by Ryan Gosling), who tries to help Cal become more attractive to women. At the same time, Jacob starts to learn more about himself as he becomes more emotionally attracted to Hannah (played by Emma Stone), who at first resists the ladies’ man.
Throughout the course of ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love,’ it seemed as though co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa wanted to showcase the tremendous change people go through immediately after finding out their spouse cheated on them and wants a divorce. In the beginning of the film, Cal was reclusive, not expressing any originality or possessing any positive attributes that would keep Emily romantically interested in him after a quarter of a century of marriage. But throughout the course of the script, which was written by Dan Fogelman, Carell used his natural, subtle humor to fully develop Cal’s personality, making him a more attractive, entertaining person to spend time with.
While it’s a respectable, smart decision to have Cal grow as a person and learn how stand up for himself and survive on his own, to some degree Cal’s personality change was implausible. Before Emily brought up the idea of getting a divorce, she was the only woman Cal had ever dated, and therefore he was distraught about the separation. But when he met Jacob almost immediately after he moved out of his family’s home, there was only a short period of time before he began approaching, and flirting with, other women. If Cal truly loved Emily, who he began dating when he was only 15 years old, it seems likely that he would need more time to move on from their relationship, no matter how much pressure he received from Jacob to change.
Ficarra and Requa also made an interesting decision by moving back and forth between Cal navigating his new life and Jacob’s developing relationship with Hannah. While Jacob is initially introduced as a womanizing supporting character to Cal who provides comic relief, the two directors rightfully decided to advance his personality. Helping Cal come to terms with his new life definitely put Jacob’s life into perspective, and he realized that forming a meaningful relationship with Hannah is important.
‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ was definitely an interesting choice for Carell, who became well-known for his raunchy humor in ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin.’ While Fogelman included some unrealistic, crazy actions for the actor’s reserved character, the movie surprisingly succeeded in proving that people will do uncharacteristic things to preserve their family and win back the person they love. Including Jacob’s unexpected change in personality after meeting Cal was a risky move, as it veered from the main character for periods of times. But ultimately, the move proved how a single relationship ending can drastically change the lives of so many other people.
Written by: Karen Benardello