Crazy, Stupid, Love is basically four love stories rolled into one. First, there’s an old couple is going through a marital crisis (Julianne Moore and Steve Carell). Then we have a 17 year old girl falling for a much older man, a 13 year old falling for that 17 year old and a serial womanizer (Ryan Gosling) meeting a girl who changes his life (Emma Stone).
It overcomes the familiarity of its plot with a few smart surprises in the second half that are likely to catch most of the audience off guard. It also benefits greatly from a refreshing mix of laugh out loud funny humour and an emotional earnestness that makes its characters endearing. The interesting ensemble delivers some fine performances. It is great to see Julianne Moore in a role worthy of her talent. It’s been far too long. Ryan Gosling successfully plays against type and shows us his comic side. Emma Stone is effervescent, hilarious and her lines are also very, very meta. Unfortunately, the film suffers from unevenness as the directors are unable to balance the four love stories adequately. Some stories get more footage than necessary at the cost of the developing the others better. Also, the needlessly extended climax and an unnecessary, rather creepy subplot (involving certain nude photos) mar the impact of an otherwise great romantic comedy. Yet, overall, this is a surprisingly smart and charming film about love between some really crazy, stupid but also good and loveable people.