Back when I paid more attention to these things, I was reading a Christian magazine and they had a movie review column. The movie that was being reviewed was intelligent, well plotted, and thought provoking. It was also rated R so the guy writing the thing wrote something along the lines of “This movie is intelligent, well plotted, and thought provoking, but it also has sex talk and potty language which makes baby Jesus cry.” He also said (and this may be more of an accurate quote) “A movie like this is a nightmare for a Christian reviewer” as if that was an actual real-life job description. Like left-handed animal veterinarian. By which I mean a veterinarian who only treats left-handed animals.
Note to self: Work on the left-handed animal veterinarian bit.
Well, when I was watching Crazy, Stupid, Love I couldn’t help thinking, “This movie would be a nightmare for a Christian reviewer if that was an actual thing, it has sex talk and potty language which makes the baby Jesus cry but it actually affirms true love and marriage.” I was also thinking, “Where’s that damned remote? I have to make tinkies!” I need to go to movies at a theater more.
The set-up is that Cal and Emily Weaver (Steve Carell and Julianne Moore) have been married for 25 years and some of the zing has gone out of their marriage. OK, that was an understatement, a baloney and mayo sandwich on white bread has more zing than the Weaver’s marriage at this point. At dinner one night Emily hits Cal with the one-two punch that she wants a divorce and that she has had an affair with a co-worker. Cal reacts to this as any man would, he jumps out of the car while Emily is driving. That was a movie moment, something that nobody would ever do in real life, and there are a few of those in CSL, not enough to ruin the movie but they do take you out of the reality of the situation.
Steve Carell is certainly not above acting crazy and/or stupid, but his character here is a caring father and a responsible, professional adult who seems to have lost track of what it means to be a man. At least that’s the theory of Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a lothario who sees Cal at the local meet market bar and takes pity on him. Jacob is quite the swordsman, and he decides to teach Cal the ways of the hunter. Under Jacob’s cruel tutelage, Cal transforms himself from a dumpy old married guy who wears New Balance sneakers to a playa. But is he happy?
Meanwhile, Emily is adjusting to life as a single mother. She decides to try actually dating the guy she had the affair with, who’s played by Kevin Bacon. By the way, in one of those “how many degrees from Kevin Bacon” scenarios, before the movie they played the trailer for the Footloose remake. Even at 53 (he’s three weeks younger than I am), Kevin Bacon looks like he could still dance circles and smash in the doughy face of the kid in the new version. What’s with all the pointless remakes, Hollywood? They’re also coming out with a new Fright Night starring Colin (gag) Ferrell as the vampire. Why? Stop making remakes that don’t have anything new to add except different hair styles! Yes, they remade True Grit, but that was to bring it closer to the original novel, plus it was the Coen Brothers so they are allowed. Don’t tell my Mom though, John Wayne is one of the Western Holy Trinity as far as she’s concerned (along with Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper) and nothing can be added to his Holy Works lest ye be added to the plagues described in the Book.
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, Kevin Bacon. So I am only three degrees seperated from Kevin Bacon because in the 80s I worked for a store in Westwood and I delivered some stuff to Tim Matheson‘s house in Beverly Hills. He wasn’t home but his wife was, she was very nice. So it goes like this:
3. I met and delivered stuff to Megan Matheson.
2. Megan Matheson was married at the time to Tim Matheson.
1. Tim Matheson played Eric “Damn glad to meet you” Stratton in Animal House which also featured…
0. Kevin Bacon.
Wait a minute…oh yeah…movie. So one of the things I appreciated about CSL is that it didn’t make either Cal or Emily into villains. You can see how much Emily’s actions hurt Cal, but you can also understand them. Along with Cal and Emily’s forays into the dating scene, Jacob also meets a woman whom he describes as a “game-changer” (Emma Stone, wonderful) and ends up asking Cal for advice on how to manage a relationship that lasts longer than a smoke and a pancake.
Another crazy, stupid layer of love in this movie is that Cal and Emily’s 13 year old son is madly in love with his 17 year old babysitter, that situation gets complicated and the young actors (Jonah Bobo and Analeigh Tipton) do a great job handling some pretty heavy emotional luggage. Marisa Tomei is great, as always, as one of Cal’s singles bar conquests.
So in spite of what Mr. Christian Movie Reviewer (which is still a thing by the way) might say, the title of the movie seems to also be the point of the movie: Love is crazy and stupid, but if you find it with someone it’s worth the craziness and stupidity. And it’s worth fighting for.
The Misplaced Boy MST3K Scale:
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On a scale of Dr. Forrester (bad) to Joel (good), I’m giving Crazy, Stupid, Love a…
Random Quote Whore Quote:
“Crazy, Stupid, Love is a pure, rectified, mulch of a movie! Steve Carell is peppier!!!”