Oh, how “Crazy, Stupid, Love” could have been so much better if only writer Dan Fogelman could focus on telling a straightforward story instead of encumbering his screenplay with forced contrivances that stretch the audience’s disbelief too many times. It stings all the more because the cast is so hyper-talented and astonishingly charismatic that the entire project would be so much more effective if it could only get out of its own way. It’s like the entire residents of Los Angeles live within a one-mile radius of one another and the intermingling is so ludicrous that it becomes totally distracting, and a late-movie reveal is so preposterous that it sucks the air out of the room: By changing the dynamics so late in the narrative, the movie stretches its audiences credulity beyond the breaking point and loses its momentum in the process. There’s also an icky, problematic subplot that’s predicated on breaking a young woman’s boundaries that leaves a bad taste in the audience’s mouth, and it’s hard not to notice that major characters have a tendency to drop out of the narrative for long stretches of time. Luckily, the cast does all the heavy lifting throughout, with relaxed co-lead performances by Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling that provide the movie’s heart not to mention a hilarious supporting performance by Marisa Tomei that positively lights up the screen. So, come for the winning cast but be ready for some unfortunate narrative shortcomings.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)