Crazy, Stupid, Love – Movie Review


Oh Crazy, Stupid, Love how high my expectations were for you.

In my head, Emma Stone can’t go wrong in a movie. Especially after the awesome Easy A. Put her in a mix with Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling and the movie result shouldn’t be that bad, right?

Wrong.

Crazy, Stupid, Love was atrocious.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and Emily Weaver (Juliane Moore) are a not so happily married couple out on a date when the wife blurts out that she wants a divorce and that she has cheated on him. Five minutes later, they are divorced and living in separate homes. So naturally, like any devastated husband, Cal goes out to one bar over and over again, repeating his sad story so everyone can hear, over and over again. It is then that he catches the attention of the bar’s prime womanizer Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who decides to give Cal a makeover and become his wingman. Soon enough, Jacob’s efforts succeed and Cal starts hooking up with every woman he can get.

At the same time, Jacob meets Hannah (Emma Stone), an aspiring lawyer preparing for her Bar examination and sooner or later, the two fall in love. Add to the mix Cal and Emily’s son having a crush on his older babysitter who has a crush on his dad, Cal. And then Cal sleeping with his son’s teacher, played by Marisa Tomei and you get a sense of what Crazy, Stupid, Love is.

Perhaps it’s the super weak script, perhaps it’s the unclarity that faces the film but Crazy, Stupid, Love had too many things going for it. And it failed to deliver on every single account, even on the laughing part. Sometimes, a comedy movie gets you to laugh. But at the end of the day, you can say it wasn’t a good movie. What if a “comedy” movie doesn’t get a chuckle out of you and is a bad movie? That’s Crazy, Stupid, Love right there.

Out of the bunch of actors and actresses in it, Emma Stone is probably the best. And no, I’m not biased. She delivers the movie’s rare funny lines and gives life to her character that all the other characters lack, and it’s not really the actors’ fault. Julianne Moore has such an underdeveloped character that it could have been omitted altogether. Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell lack chemistry as the movie’s main protagonists. The cast should have known better than to take on such a project.

The movie, moreover, has not one but two directors. It’s hard for me to believe how two “creative” heads thinking about making one movie could miss the mark in the way that they did. And none of it is fun to watch. The pace drags and lulls like the rickety joints of an arthritic ninety year old man.

And the script. Let’s talk about how ridiculously cliche the script is. There’s one point where one of the characters blurts out on screen: “Rain… how cliche.” Care to guess what happened before the rain? Yes, there was a fight. Sometimes, screenwriters can turn a cliche idea and make something good out of it. After all, not all aspects of life are out of the box. This is not the case here.

Crazy, Stupid, Love’s title is a very wrong representation of the movie. At least two thirds of the title. No, it’s not crazy. It’s as tame as movies go. No, there’s nothing to love about it. And yes, it is totally stupid. The movie’s fault? It never gets crazy or stupid enough to make you love it.

Easy A – Movie Review

Easy A. The best comedy of the year, aka the best teen comedy in a long, long time.

The movie tells the story of Olive Penderghast, a high school girl who’s as off the radar as you can go. A rumor starts that she lost her virginity and soon enough, she becomes the most popular girl in school. Inspired by the novel “The Scarlet Letter” from where the letter “A” in the title comes from, it shows how the precocious teenager in Olive got turned due to word-of-mouth alone into something as close to a harlot as you can get – without the sex.

Her fictional one-night with her fictional college boyfriend soon becomes the introduction of many guys asking her to fake sleep with them to improve their reputation. A gay classmate comes up to her and in one hilarious scene, they fake sleeping with each other so well that your ribs would almost crack from laughing. But as with all comedies, soon enough Olive’s world will come crashing down as it all becomes unbearable and things she hasn’t even pretended to do are affixed to her…

Olive’s parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are hilarious. They excel at being the hippies, carefree parents. You can’t help but laugh everytime one of them tries to console or give guidance to Olive. They are so out of place that I thought Olive was adopted at first. They are still so taken by their long-ago sexual and chemical experimentation that they don’t even care about all the turmoil in their daughter’s life. Their advice: Oh but it’s fun! You can’t help but laugh.

You might think the plot is cliched and whatnot – after all, most high school comedies are. But what elevates this movie is the outstanding performance by Emma Stone, who, in my opinion, should have won her category at the Golden Globes. There is no other one who deserved the best actress in a comedy as she did. She spun this movie out of her likeability alone and made it into what it is. Like or hate the movie, you can’t but like her character. She shows such promising talent that how she was a relative unknown before this is mind-boggling.

The movie also stars Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley as Olive’s love interest. Amanda Bynes returns into the movie business as the overzealous Christian who wants to stop all the “sinning” going on in her school. She is really good as well, especially when she’s in one of her prayer sessions.

Easy A may not be groundbreaking. But for once in a long while, Hollywood gives you a comedy that is refreshing, breezy and likeable without going into the comedy of shock-value. And for that, I love it.

 

 

 

Love And Other Drugs – Review

Love And Other Drugs, aka one of the most hated movies of the year. But unlike the overall opinion regarding this movie, I actually loved it!

Love And Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, an ADD son of a doctor, who doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps, so he gets a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer, the company that later on brought the world Viagra. While trying to sell his company’s drug, he meets Maggie, the character portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Maggie has an early onset of Parkinson’s and this where the story starts.

The movie is very life-like. It’s about commerce (trying to sell drug to doctors who can be bought by gifts and schmoozing), ambition and ultimately love. Aren’t those things what life is all about? You have ambition to basically set a name for yourself. This ambition will lead you to make good money, fall in love and raise a family. This is where the life-like approach comes from.

Each one of the main characters of this movie has their own journey. Jamie’s path is to grow out of the careless womanizer that he is into a man. And Maggie’s growth revolves around trust in people, to let go of her own secure but fragile little world and let go.  Jake Gyllenhaal is heartfelt, engaging in his portrayal of Jamie. He draws you in and makes the character very likable. But the true star here is Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway has very much grown since her The Princess Diaries days. And if the first hour of movie, which is basically sex, is not convincing enough, she blows you away (no pun intended) with the emotions she gets across in the second half. It’s not hard (again no pun intended) to like her in any movie that she does, be it the drug addict in Rachel Getting Married or as the sick woman in this one. Her embodiment of a Parkinson’s patient is very good. The tremors she makes, the way she lives the disease… it is all done with the right touch of credibility. And this is coming from a person who has lived firsthand with someone with Parkinson’s. The struggle to get the drugs, the disappointment when she discovers she forgot to refill her prescription… you live the movie and the character through Maggie’s eyes, predicting what she’ll do next: will she open up to Jamie or will she remain secluded? Will she let herself truly live or will she just keep in going by? It’s a multi-layered character, delivered brilliantly. And I’m not ashamed to say I prefer this performance over Annette Bening’s performance in The Kids Are All Right.

There’s one particular scene involving a vodka bottle that is very haunting. You can’t but feel sorry for her character at that point.

Some say that the nudity is unnecessary, especially with the amount it is in this movie. I disagree. The sex scenes in this movie are the vehicle by which these two characters communicate and get to know each other. Relationships usually start the other way around. This is not the case here. Instead of having their minds do the talking, their bodies do.

Moreover, you feel at times that the plot can be taken to an extra level. Sometimes, it feels as if the script could have used an extra draft to make this movie into one that could have actually been a very strong contender at this year’s award season. Some scenes are dispensable and very Hollywood-like cliche, in a movie that is not very cliche. An extra revision would have probably tied those scenes up and delivered a truly great movie.

To finish this up, I prefer Love And Other Drugs over all the other  movies in the Motion Picture – Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes. It’s not for all tastes. But I loved it.