MOVIE REVIEWS: CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
With a title like Crazy, Stupid, Love., the producers would appear to be making it easy for critics to bash it. The remarkable thing is that many are turning that title inside out. A. O. Scott in the New York Times, for example, begins his review by writing, “Crazy, Stupid, Love. is, on balance, remarkably sane and reasonably smart.” He goes on to write that it’s “a smooth blend of modern comic genres with a surprising undercurrent of dark, difficult emotion.” That’s the conclusion of quite a number of critics. After writing a tag line for the movie ads (“one from the heart and one for the heart”), Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times writes that Dan Fogelman’s script is “driven by realism without cynicism that is so winningly sentimental it is almost enough to turn that word into praise rather than the pejorative dig it has become.” Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe wonders about the punctuation in that title, noting that it has two commas and a period. “What are these words modifying?” he asks. “Is ‘love’ a noun or a verb? Is the amount of punctuation in a movie title proportional to the pleasure to be found in the movie itself? The answers are: I don’t know, I don’t know, I can’t tell, and evidently.” Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the filmmakers “take all the formula ingredients and blend them into a satisfying — and tasty — concoction.” And Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times seems especially grateful to have a romantic comedy come to theaters sans raunch. “At the end,” he concludes, “I felt an undeniable satisfaction.” But the movie gets little of that from most other critics. Rex Reed’s review in the New York Observer seizes on that title: “It’s not nearly crazy enough to clear the clogged arteries of summer comedies, and when the love appears, it s in all the wrong places. Oh well, at least they nailed the stupid part.” Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post is also left uncharmed by the movie. “What the filmmakers clearly meant to be sweet and lighthearted instead too often feels forced, contrived and hopelessly banal,” she concludes. Likewise Peter Howell in the Toronto Star remarks that “rarely does the dialogue exceed sitcom banality.” One thing that all of the critics agree on is that the performances of the cast, who in include Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and Ryan Gosling are superb. And many of them particularly single out Gosling. Writes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal: “You’d expect Mr. Carell to be funny … and he certainly is. The revelation is Mr. Gosling’s comic chops.”