Review: “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

Emma Stone shines and Ryan Gosling’s shirtless

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to two “new” stars. First, Emma Stone. She, the to-be star of the cinematic version of The Help, earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Easy A and costarred in the hilariously disgusting Zombieland. She has killer eyes, Julia Roberts-ish smile, Meg Ryan ease, and the raspy voice of a young Miley Cyrus. Second, Ryan Gosling. He already earned an Oscar nomination for Half Nelson, critical praise for his performances in Blue Valentine and Lars and the Real Girl, and countless tears for his turn in The Notebook. And unlike Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, and Chris Evans, he has yet to don a superhero costume to display his superhuman physique. Obviously, these two tremendously talented actors have already received notice and acclaim, but in Crazy, Stupid Love., they may take the next step to being recognized as bona fide movie stars.

Stupid begins with the sudden announcement of Emily (Julianne Moore) that she wants a divorce from her husband Cal (Steve Carell). Thrust into the single life, the depressed and depressing Cal is quickly taken under the wing of Jacob (Gosling), a young, sexy ladies’ man. Yet as Jacob teaches Cal the tricks of the hunt, Jacob quickly falls for Hannah (Stone).

Carell’s Cal is a sad, broken, kind man. Like an amalgamation of his roles in Little Miss Sunshine and Dan in Real Life, Carell is aptly able to bring humor from sad situations. Additionally, Moore is wonderful as Emily. Though the part is underwritten, Moore brings warmth to the characters and makes you see how Cal could still long for their reunion. But it is the chemistry and the performances of Stone and Gosling that makes this film. As Jacob finally takes Hannah to his bed, she can’t help but interrupt to talk about the pillow—how it perfectly conforms to her head. Discussing everything from massage chairs to distant mothers, the scene could be cliché or rote. But with these actors, the moment feels gleeful and authentic: Stone, quirky and charming, Gosling, stoic and quite funny.

In a summer where every adult comedy is chock-full of dick jokes, it is so refreshing for a romantic/sex comedy, like Stupid, to be PG-13. This is not to say that it does not have adult subject matter, but it is able to discuss them without fake penises or constant f-bombs. While it has one too many characters (played by Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei, and Josh Groban), a few too many plot twists, and a confusingly punctuated title, it is a wholly delightful and honest film. It makes you laugh and care deeply for these characters and hope that Stone and Gosling continue to make movies, together and apart, for many, many years.

My Grade: B+

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