It might have been a mistake to watch this movie so close to Valentine’s Day.
One of the best experiences you can have upon seeing a movie for the first time is leaving the theatre and thinking to yourself, “wow, I fucking loved that. That is absolutely going to be one of my all-time favourite movies.” That’s a magical sensation that I sincerely hope everyone gets to feel multiple times in their life. That wondrous feeling is what I experienced after watching Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) in the theatres for the first time. Since then I have been an adoring fan of this movie. Maybe the biggest fan one could possibly be. Like any lover of movies I’ve often thought long and hard about the highly-coveted list of my top 10 all-time favourite movies. I’ve been known to waver on an entry here or there, but one thing that remains constant is that Crazy, Stupid, Love is firmly planted on that list.
Crazy, Stupid, Love tells the story of Cal Weaver, a middle-aged man who is going through a rough patch after his wife asks him for a divorce. Lonely and distraught, Cal is approached by the suave and womanizing Jacob Palmer who seeks to help Cal regain his manhood and confidence by teaching him to pick up women at the local bar.
God, I love this movie. Talk about being a comfort movie! It’s one of those movies that I could watch at least once a month. I think part of why I love this movie so much is because in addition to star Steve Carell, Crazy, Stupid, Love is produced by über-producer, Denise Di Novi. As a producer, Di Novi has an enormous amount of fabulously iconic and beloved movies under her belt including; Heathers (1988), Batman Returns (1992), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Little Women (1994), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Practical Magic (1998), and What a Girl Wants (2003)! By the way, check out my reviews for those last seven movies here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
As well, Crazy, Stupid, Love is written by Dan Fogelman who wrote the Disney movies Bolt (2008) and Tangled (2010) – check out my review, here – and created This Is Us (2016 – 2022). Crazy, Stupid, Love definitely feels like a precursor to This Is Us. It possesses all of the same heartwarming romance and humour derived from real life situations that Fogelman’s acclaimed series became known for but thankfully it leaves out all of the tragedy porn. Crazy, Stupid, Love is nothing but joy, comedy and warmth all wrapped up in a package that manages to be sweet and sexy at the same time. A hard feat to pull off, in my opinion. I may be going out on a limb here, but I’d go as far as to say that Crazy, Stupid, Love is the closest a movie has ever gotten to reaching the level of multi-layered loveliness of Love Actually (2003). This is Love Actually for a new generation. Intersecting relationships, well-written, genuinely romantic and comedic, totally rewatchable, full of big name stars…Richard Curtis would be proud. There’s not much, if anything, that I’d change about this movie.
Okay, so the most genius thing about Crazy, Stupid, Love is that it really said, “let’s make Ryan Gosling the sexiest we possibly can” and boy oh boy, did they succeed. Bless this movie for having a gratuitous Gosling shirtless scene and bless Emma Stone for reacting how we all would. We salute you Crazy, Stupid, Love for your service. How could any human possibly resist Gosling if he approached you in a bar the way he frequently does in this movie? In everything from the way he’s shot, to the costuming, to the grooming…he’s just so fucking sexy, suave, amazingly charming and hilarious in this. This was Gosling’s first comedy and wow, what a comedic project to debut in. Gosling lands every joke with such ease and nails every bit of physical comedy he’s given that I can’t believe this was his first attempt at comedy. I want him in more comedies. He’s fantastic in The Nice Guys (2016) and I’m so excited to see him in Barbie (2023). He handles the genre like a pro but then again, who wouldn’t be after learning the ropes from Steve Carell?
As Cal and Jacob respectively, Carell and Gosling are tailor-made for these roles. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing these characters with as much chemistry as these two bring to the roles. They really are a perfect comedy duo. Everything about Jacob making over Cal is hilarious. The cadence, the condescension, the disbelief at how mundane and unremarkable Cal is… Carell and Gosling are so fantastic together that I would watch a whole TV series that is just Jacob making over and wing-manning Cal. I know they were in The Big Short (2015) together, but Carell and Gosling NEED to make another comedy movie together. Hey, if Gosling and Stone can play love interests three times, than he and Carell are certainly due for another pairing. Oh and while we’re on the subject, Stone needs to start making comedies again. Coming off the heels of Easy A (2010) – check out my review, here – Crazy, Stupid, Love really proved that Stone and her acting / comedic abilities were no fluke. She could hold her own against mega stars like Gosling, Carell and Julianne Moore.
One of the things I like most about Crazy, Stupid, Love is how after the first hour the movie shifts focus from Cal to Jacob and his new relationship with Stone’s Hannah. This movie could have been a smashing success by being solely about either Cal or Jacob’s relationship, but the movie reaches fantastic new heights by devoting enough time and charm to both storylines and even mashing them altogether. That’s what makes Crazy, Stupid, Love so much fun. Oh and Jacob and Hannah staying up all night talking about absolutely nothing and just laughing in bed? Somehow that’s more sexy and romantic than if they had actually made love. God, give me a piece of that.
Speaking of storylines mashing together, hands down the greatest scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love is the surprise in the Weaver’s backyard. This is everything I want out of a comedy scene. A misunderstanding of Shakespearean proportions, this is a fantastically funny and brilliantly choreographed climax where all these storylines come crashing together in one delightfully enjoyable family fight. All because of the infamous David Lindhagen. It truly is *chef’s kiss.
Like I said, I’ve had Crazy, Stupid, Love on my list of top 10 favourite movies for over a decade. It’s remained there even when movies I thought would never be removed got bumped off and I’m proud to say that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This movie is perfection and I cannot recommend it enough. I’d recommend it to fans of romance, fans of comedy, fans of great writing or any one who is looking for their next favourite movie. It’s crazy how stupid in love with this movie I am.
Have you seen Crazy, Stupid, Love?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!