Crazy, Stupid, Love

For a star studded cast, Crazy, Stupid, Love fell a little bit short of expectations. There was too much hype and too much expectation before I saw the movie. And while watching the film, I began to doubt whether I really liked movies starring Steve Carell as the main lead and the disappointment mirrored my experience when watching Date Night, except substitute Mila Kunis with Ryan Gosling as the resident hottie.

The biggest excitement of the film hands down is Ryan Gosling…I mean the only reaction you can possibly have whether you’re a guy, girl, single or not, straight, gay is HOT DAMN when you see those artfully crafted chiseled fucken abs. It was refreshing to see Ryan Gosling in a film where his function was to be just a hot piece of meat. I feel like I haven’t seen that in awhile…he’s either wooing his lady fans as the tragically lovesick lead in rom coms like The Notebook or beautifully tragic and dejected lead in Blue Valentine. It was quite cheesy the way they milk his hotness down to the Dirty Dancing “homage,” but you know nobody cares. It was actually funny to see and hear the reaction of the audience as they squirm in their seats in excitement.

Here, he plays a womanizer who volunteers his services to help Steve Carell rediscover his manhood with a makeover (one that I was not seeing significant transformation, but whatevers). Steve Carell plays the same used up role as in his other films. Frankly, it hasn’t really worked since The 40 Year Old Virgin. I will give this character more credit as it has a little more depth as he struggles between holding onto the love of his life and regaining his dignity.

The women in this film certainly took a back seat to the budding bromance of Steve and Ryan. The only thing I would say is that they didn’t really add or detract from the film. I don’t think Julianne Moore or Emma Stone was particularly great. I didn’t find their chemistry with their respective pairings particularly convincing, but I also don’t expect much of that from this sort of romcoms. Marisa Tomei was funny. Overall, the movie was entertaining, but fell a little flat. Definitely, not the best comedy of its class of the year as some might claim. The key is to watch with no expectation and you’ll walk out pleased. $6

If you heart Crazy, Stupid, Love:

Recommendations from Lil D:
Date Night
The Hangover
Bridesmaids

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right is a powerful and delightfully humorous film directed by Lisa Cholodenko (“High Art”, “Laurel Canyon”) and screenplay written by Stuart Blumberg.  The movie is simply strong writing fortified by brilliant acting.  Relationships and family drive the film – there isn’t much of a story.  But who cares!  The interactions and dialogue between the delicate relationships of lovers, parents and children, and surrogate fathers were written to perfection with all the necessary elements of awkwardness, humor, and tenderness.  There was a feeling of actual sincerity and connection with each of the characters that we rarely find in movies these days.

I haven’t seen Annette Bening in a worthwhile performance since American Beauty.  Although it’s not quite the same (simply because her role as Carolyn is one of the best female performances ever) – it is up there.  It was deeply satisfying to see her talent put to good use.  Mark Ruffalo… what a sexy motherfucker.  Normally the open-shirt-to-the-navel to bear beefy chest-hair elicits gag reflex.  But Mr. Ruffalo, you reek of sex, even with your exposed mat of hair.  Julianne Moore is as engaging and beautiful as ever.  The more I see of her, the more I realize that she just might be one of the most talented actresses of our time.

One especially satisfying experience in watching the movie is that the trailer didn’t ruin the movie one bit.  The trailer was captivating, but seemed to complete the movie without having to watch it.  Yet the scenes from the trailer were even better in the movie itself.  Since the movie was more character-driven, the trailer did nothing to disrupt the film itself.  Lastly – two more important elements that made the movie complete.  One: excellent soundtrack.  Two: Joaquin Garrido as Luis, the landscaper.  I can’t end this review without a tip of my hat to you . . . $8

If you heart The Kids Are All Right:

Recommendations from The Mug:

Greenberg
High Art
The Squid and the Whale

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