Boy meets girl, loses her, and gets her back in the end. Name that movie. Pretty tough call, right? That’s because it’s the most common theme for nearly every romantic comedy ever made. The plot has been done so many times–in so many different manners–that it’s amazing the genre is even still considered viable. Thankfully though, every now and then a diamond in the rough comes to light, and renews hope in the rom-com genre. In 2011, that diamond in the rough was the ensemble piece, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a quirky and original rom-com led by the one and only Steve Carell. It’s not the first rom-com with an ensemble cast. Who out there remembers Valentines Day? I should be ashamed for even knowing about that movie. It was an awful movie, by the way. But I digress. Unlike so many other movies that pollute the rom-com genre, it’s a movie that actually has heart, and an original story. The problem with the story is that as original and heartwarming as it is, it has too much going on. There are too many interweaving plotlines. The general story tries so hard to cover all of its bases that it leads to a pacing problem. The issue with the story’s pacing is so noticeable that it can lead some audiences to want to hit the fast forward button on their remotes.
The primary storyline in the movie is between Cal Weaver (Carell) and his wife, Emily. Cal is trying to rediscover himself after Emily tells him during a night out, that she wants a divorce. She proceeds to admit to Cal on their drive home, that she had been cheating on him. This is where things begin to get complicated. So pull out your scorecards. Ready? In attempting to rediscover himself, Cal meets playboy Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), who teaches Cal how to woo women. During the process, Cal meets his son’s teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei), and Jacob meets Hannah, whom he later falls for. This results in Jacob changing his ways, and a surprise twist thrown in for good measure. The tie in with Kate is directly related to Cal’s son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) cursing in class one day because his affections toward an older girl were spurned. The girl in question is named Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Jessica has a schoolgirl crush on Cal. And that leads to some interesting events. So, is everyone following along? The whole game of six degrees continues on even more, to the point that a person would need a program to follow it all. It simply bogs the story down too much.
No one can be blamed for wanting to skip through portions of the movie, due to its pacing problem. No one can even be blamed for actually doing it. However, those who don’t will be rewarded with a happy ending that’ll leave them with some sense of fullfilment, and a smile on their faces in the end. Said audiences’ minds might be reeling from all the storylines after it’s all said and done. Those who manage to keep up with it all will definitely find Crazy, Stupid, Love to be crazy, yes. But they’ll also find it to be anything but stupid.