TMG Scale 5.5 P Factor 1.0
Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, Julianne Moore, Maris Tomei
TMG always says titles can be telling. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a bit of a crazy, stupid movie. Having said that, it has a number of redeeming qualities. Ryan Gosling steals the show, not Steve Carell. Gosling plays Jacob, a top notch bar player and smooth operator reminiscent of Richard Gere as Julian in The American Gigilo (1980) or as Ed Lewis in Pretty Woman (1990). He may be a scum bucket, pick up artists but women love him and guys surely admire his confidence, his style and his class.
While Cal (Carell) is wimping out in a bar after being quite literally dumped by his wife Emily (Moore), Gosling takes manly pity on him and chooses to adopt him as a project makeover back to manhood and coolness…and teach him the tricks of the woman trade. [We saw almost the same totally unbelievable scenario recently in Larry Crowne (2011) where, young enough to be his daughter, Alvarez, takes on Larry Crowne to remake him a hip college student.] Hence the main problem with this movie. It’s basic plot and scenarios or so ginned up and contrived that they distract from the humor, romance and drama. Only incredible acting by Gosling, Carell, Moore and Stone hold it together.
Fortunately, I laughed or was amused at many of the set sups and knockdowns. However, I find zero excuse and am substantially offended at the sexual predator and patently criminal nature of one 17 year old babysitter gifting her own kiddie porn to a 13 year old boy. I am mad because the writers and directors had a unique opportunity to make it a touching moment rather than a slutty one. Babysitter Jessica holds what were earlier played as her own nude photos to attract Cal. She later hands them over to placate Cal’s 13 year old son, Robbie, who has a crush on her. She could have replaced them with smiling and fully dressed pics and sent a real message of redemption to both. Instead, Hollywood loves to sell smuttiness, child molestation and kiddie porn these days. Think TMG exaggerates? You not see Kick Ass (2010)? Or Bad Teacher (2011)? And once again, another scene of men urinating—is this now a scene mandated by the California Pee Act of 2010? I would have rated this film a 1.0 but Gosling’s 10.0 performance and Stones 8.0 effort raises the overall score. Oh well, it’s just a movie I guess—it’s not cancer or anything like that (you have to see the film to understand the latter reference).
The real culprit in what otherwise could have been a great movie was …you know what I am going to say….editing, editing, EDITING !!!! You have to edit out the meaningless crap! If they had only hired TMG they could have turned this movie into a real blockbuster. More later….