Last Saturday, the guy I ghostwrote for and I finally went to see Crazy, Stupid Love. He had wanted to see it with me because he views himself as the Ryan Gosling character: the ultra smooth talking ladies man who befriends a guy who is pretty awkward at the dating game. Its a guru relationship, where the awkward guy (played by Steve Carell) gets made-over into a confident, stylish, and ultimately successful bar patron. My friend wants to help give me an image make-over to increase my chances, but I have a problem with that because the way people approach dating is far to superficial for my liking. I prefer to find the lady I am meant to marry by spiritual means because I have become close friends with at least four people where we've had coincidences between us and there was a mutual feeling of having known each other before we even met. Yeah, I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, which is why the shallow approach shown in this movie just doesn't do it for me.
The movie begins with a special dinner at a fancy restaurant. Steve Carell and his wife Julianne Moore (one of my favourite actresses, as I love redheads and she has chosen interesting roles) are having trouble deciding on dessert. As they are deciding what to order, Moore's character blurts out that she wants a divorce. The ride back to their home is awkward. More absurdities abound. The couple's tweenage son has a major crush on the babysitter (who I thought was gangly and weird looking). However, the babysitter has a crush on the father (that would be Steve Carell). This sub-plot plays out to ridiculous effect in one of the most outlandish and contrived scenes I've ever seen.
Much of the movie is set in the same bar, where Carell makes an ass out of himself by talking to himself about his frustrations regarding his marriage and not knowing how to date. After several days of this, Ryan Gosling's character had had enough of it and decides to do the guy a favour by showing him his secret to scoring with the chicks. As I watched these scenes unfold, I found that none of the ladies in that bar appealed to me at all. Watching the smooth operator play his game and winning just gives one a bad image of the desperate ladies.
Marisa Tomei appears as the typical quirky secondary character, playing a role she is dangerously being typecasted as: the nymphomaniac. She is so outrageous that its hardly funny. And we're meant to believe that she is an elementary school teacher. Her character also serves as a plot complication.
When the couple decide to get a divorce, the husband of another couple gives his friend a parting gift and says that they cannot be friends anymore. What? That's ridiculous, but I'm sure that it happens. The problem of coupling and befriending other couples and having to choose sides if the couple-friend get a divorce. Its such childish games. This couple happens to be the parents of the babysitter who has a crush on Steve Carell's character.
Above is a photo of Ryan Gosling, trying to be suave and stylish as the ladies man who has no flaw in his game. There are plenty of absurd moments between him and Steve Carell, though. Such as in the locker room when he's giving lectures and standing completely nude with Carell's head blocking his private areas. Perhaps the scene is meant to show how confident his character is about his sexuality, but it just looked ridiculous and unrealistic.
The interesting thing about his character, though, is that he meets a lady who resists his charms for several weeks and when they do end up together, she forces a real conversation out of him. He considers her a "game changer" and appears willing to drop his tomcat on the nightly prowl routine and settle down into an actual relationship.
This being a romantic-comedy, though, means that there are going to be outlandish scenes to amplify the laughs, though such strategy tends to render the movie unrealistic and even absurd. Why is it so hard to make a realistic romantic-comedy that does not include such elements (off the wall quirky secondary characters, outlandishly contrived comedy of errors or plot climax)? The last third of the movie just kills it for me, though there were early scenes as well that made me lose confidence in this movie.
The biggest problem I have with the movie comes to a head when all the subplots collide with the main plot. Then after that scene is finished, we witness the commencement exercise for the elementary school into junior high school. The couple's son is the valedictorian (or was it salutatorian?) of his class. He veers off tangent and speaks about love and his disillusionment with it. His father doesn't like the direction the speech is going, so he interrupts the speech to give his own soliloquoy. It was awful, awful, awful.
Crazy, Stupid Love?!? Nah! More like Crazy, Stupid Movie!!!
There is nothing to learn from this film about how to approach the dating game. It's just standard Hollywood formulaic blandness. As Gosling's character learns, his smooth operator game ultimately gets stale as the basic human desire for a deeper relationship with people will always come through. That is what I wish about this dating process I'm undergoing. People say they hate the game, but they play the game in a superficial way. I wish more people would approach dating from a spiritual perspective and an openness. I'm not finding it, unfortunately. Perhaps too many ladies are influenced by crap movies like this one. Memo to single ladies: Hollywood doesn't know shit about true romance. Enduring relationships begin when you get real with people and be honest with yourself about what you're really looking for. Love doesn't have to be "Crazy, stupid"! Love is supposed to be consistent and sustaining. Here's to love before the year ends!