Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

S/o to Gosling’s black top. How does he make that thing look like it belongs in a smart casual setting?

If only breezy, non-braindead rom coms like this could be the standard – not for brilliance, just for, well, standard. Multiple storylines whose interconnectedness actually adds to eachother’s momentum, as opposed to simply being an excuse to something-for-everybody anthologise (Love Actually) or as a decoy for any actual purpose to the movie (The Words – which is more romantic drama, but plays better as a comedy – zing! Got ’em).

The fact that Crazy, Stupid, Love does what it’s supposed to do without relying on a convoluted premise (I Hate Valentine’s Day) or two (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), or championing horrible people exhibiting disturbing, sociopathic and/or illegal behaviour (aside from the son character), shouldn’t be extraordinary. This should be very, very ordinary.

This genre overall could be harmless, rather than insufferable (and occasionally toxic). Yes, Gosling’s Jacob is as unrealistic a fantasy as any rom com premise (what does he even do for a living, anyway, that allows him to take a middle aged man shopping at 3pm on a Thursday, live in a house like that, and buy a $5,000 massage chair he’s only used twice), but it also feels like the film says he’s a bit rich, so to speak.

Beyond the requisite melodramatic moments (one of the boxes that needs to be ticked for a film to recognizably be of its genre), for the most part the characters and their reactions feel at least understandable, if not, dare i say it, relatable? It helps that the cast is full of actors you’re happy to see in this kind of movie, even if they all should be (and usually are) doing other, better things. And as a romantic pairing, I enjoyed Stone and Gosling more in this than, say, La La Land.