Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Dudes: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Bacon
Ladies: Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei
Teens: Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo (Bobo?)
For Some Reason is in the Move: Josh Groban
From the Drew Carey Show: John Carrol Lynch
The theme: once you find your one true love, you can't give up, no matter what. The 13-year old kid, Robbie, repeats this again and again and again. Just in case there was any doubt about whether or not you can give up on true love, there's a climactic, public speech restating, definitively, no, you can't.
I don't know if, personally, I agree with the notion of "One True Love" and you have to fight for that person until the end of time. We're constantly evolving as people. Those who were desperately in love may no longer mesh in quite the ideal way, due to individual growth and maturation. I know we like to believe that love is static and once you find it it's forever, but...Realistically, this isn't always the case. Some couples are lucky enough to love each other for 60 years. Others can't. I believe you love someone for as long as you do, grow together as long as you're able, and if you want different directions you separate and see what happens, where life takes you, if you arrive together again.
Luckily, in Crazy, Sexy, Love, Carell and Moore still have their love, they're still compatible. Their problem is neither of them has a grip on their core identity. Both are wallowing internally and this loss of self has led to a destruction of external relationships. The point Gosling makes to Carell is that "you lost sight of who you are as a man."
While the film is talking about "one true love" and "never giving up", it's really SHOWING you can't give love and support (what is love without support?) when inside you're crippled.
This isn't a case of actions speaking louder than words. This is a case of the words being stupid, heart-warming BS and the actions revealing a truth of life.
"But you just said Gosling tells Carell 'you've lost sight of who you are as a man' so isn't the film saying the right thing?"
Okay, you stickler. Yeah, Gosling's character says "Your wife cheated on you, because you lost sight of who you are as a man," and that's the point I just made, so the film DOES talk about the subject. But, vocally, it drops it and continues to promulgate the "ONE TRUE LOVE, YEAH!" theme. The plot, however, continues to revolve around Carell regaining self-confidence and self-worth and slowly reeling in Moore (among other women).
Oddly enough, Crazy, Sexy, Love has a lot in common with The Lion King. Ryan Gosling is pretty much Mufasa coming through the thunderheads. "Simba, remember who you are." Only when Carell is no longer a drifting dingy but a captain at the helm of his manhood can he take back Pride Rock, so to speak. (Robbie, the whimsical social perplexity, is Rafiki).
I don't know if Ficarra and Requa knew they were doing it but they make an important point about love.
The smartest thing the film does is leave Carell's and Moore's relationship status ambiguous. We've seen Carell's return to confidence and worth. Moore has demonstrated no restoration. She has said multiple times she's confused and uncertain about her life. She can't make a decision about Carell because she hasn't made a decision about who she is, about what life she wants. By the film's end, we get the idea that, having destroyed her former self and having the perspective one gains from such natural disaster, she's ready to rebuild in a way that includes her family and Carell. If she had just taken him back, no questions asked, it would have been a betrayal of character and the unspoken theme.
Did I like it?
Yeah. Probably the ideal date movie so far this year. It's smart enough to strike you as an original movie-going experience. But more mainstream than Midnight in Paris (I don't see how someone unfamiliar with 1920s artists could get as much out of the film?). It's funny. And loaded with likable actors giving endearing performances. I think it hits the right masculine and feminine notes to keep both sexes happy.
CSL references other films to justify plot points. The Karate Kid (for how Carell learns to be a playa' playa') and Dirty Dancing (for the big "woo"). There are a lot of little movie references, but I can't remember nor name them all.
Emma Stone also brings attention to a cliche of PG-13 movies: the male opting for tenderness over intercourse. In the scene, she says that won't happen, they're "going to bang." The film proceeds to twist the cliche and make it fresh. By discussing the cliche then turning it over, CSL is forcing the viewer to appreciate its, the film's, novelty (something Bad Teacher refused to do and suffered for it (see hypertext)). Had the film not made the viewer recall the cliche, people may not have immediately realized CSL's "cleverness". In an age of knock-off accessory items, this is like your friend buying a real Fendi and telling everyone "Hey, this is a REAL Fendi." On the one hand, it's sort of necessary to get people to appreciate what you have. On the other: shut up. I say that, but I thought the scene worked (because of Stone and Gosling being so endearing) despite simultaneously thinking: so cheesy.
It's all a matter of knowledge though. If I'm a purse expert (which I'm not) and I know you have a real Fendi, if I hear you telling person after person it IS a Fendi, I'll sort of loathe you. On the other hand, if I know nothing of purses (which is true) I may not "get" your purse, so by you explaining what Fendi is I'll be like "Ohhhh, wow!" So this is a fine line. CSL walked it well enough.
The book The Game, Neil Strauss's account of his days as a pick-up artist, has transformed the way men and women interact, especially at the bar and club scene. The impact is so profound that we now have a film that utilizes the interaction and it's something mainstream and recognizable.
Kevin Bacon is likable?
As I was watching, I kept wondering if this was a Judd Apatow film. Nope. I would put this in the canon of films that includes: 40-year old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People.
Never saw a twist coming, so that was pleasing
8th grade graduation speeches are all the rage in 2011: Modern Family did it too.
Steve Carell is a leading man. It's funny when you compare him to Brad Pitt and George Clooney and Robert Downy Jr. types. He doesn't have their looks or bearing, but he gets the job done and has won people over. Get Smart is pretty much a metaphor about Steve Carell's movie career.
% Character / % Actor's personality
Stone: 50/50, 45/55
Gosling: Blue Valentine, Lars and the Real Girl, The Notebook
Stone: Easy A, Superbad
Carell: Dan in Real Life, Get Smart
Moore: Big Lebowski, Children of Men, The Kids are Alright
Glenn and John: I Love You Phillip Morris
Kevin Bacon: Mystic River, Sleepers, X-Men: First Class
Bad Teacher analysis: http://modigmovie.weebly.com/1/post/2011/06/inquiry-5-why-do-critics-hate-bad-teacher.htmlweeblylink_new_window