A married guy (Carell) tries to balance handling a crisis with his wife (Moore), attending couples therapy, and maintaining his relationship with his kids.
In practice, making a good and successful movie is easy. First thing you need to do is write a strong screenplay that’s universal and everybody and his dog can relate with in some way. Then take that script and give it to strong actors who understand their character’s journeys. And finally, bring on a director who can guide the ship and understand when to just get out of the way and let his team do all the work/creativity, and when he needs to step up and take care of things by himself.
CRAZY STUPID LOVE is that good and successful movie. It’s hits on all the right notes and was a pure joy to watch because is was executed properly. And major cuckoos to the Producers who hired all the right people.
And the studios obviously believed in this film because they threw it right into the madness of the 2011 summer movie season. A movie like this is rarely seen when the sun shines the most in the year because this is what you call a tweener project.
A tweener project is Hollywood is that film that could be an independent project because the concept is grounded (aka - real people doing real human things), plus the budget will be low due to zero action sequences and minimal locations. It only gets raised to a mid-level production where they throw money at it, but not too much money in case the film doesn’t work and they have to bury it, when a star actor or director becomes interested.
But CRAZY STUPID LOVE is even more bizarre because it was 4 star actors who became interested, but none of them major stars where they can carry a opening box office weekend all by themselves. All four of these actors are highly respected in the industry for their consistent work. And the younger stars of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are what you call stars on the rising. The actors that people are paying attention to because there is obvious screen presence, plus they both have the ability to play different types of roles.
And in the case of Ryan Gosling, this is a guy Hollywood wants to rein in because he’s been working on Independent movies for the last four years and not many people around the world know who he is. But this is a man who can act, there’s no question about that. And this is also a man who has obvious sex appeal.
Gosling is such a talented actor, he really puts his contemporaries to shame. Ryan Reynolds for example, the actor who is compared to Gosling the most because of their common surnames and Canadian roots, is the light beer version of Gosling. Both have bodies and faces that the girls (and some guys) like a whole lot, but only Gosling can jump into leading roles like Lars and the Real Girl and Half Nelson. Reynolds has zero chance of pulling off 80% of the roles Gosling has played.
So when you cast him in a film like CRAZY STUPID LOVE, Gosling adds so much depth to an otherwise “easy” performance that Reynolds would act through in his sleep. And that’s why this movie works so well. All four lead actors give their characters depth. There’s a lot going on in their performances because there is a lot going on in these human beings in real life.
This is a film about LOVE. What is love? Blah blah blah! It’s something that’s a bit of a cliche in storyland, but it’s also something most of us think about daily. We all need to be loved and we all want to love someone else. But human selfishness and our own personal issues take over us a lot of the time and we tend to miss out on the love that’s right in front of us.
Most of us play different roles that we’ve created for ourselves in life. The funny guy at the office. The player guy who picks up girls all the time. The tease woman who likes to flirt but won’t even go to 1st base. We all do it to a certain extent for fear of people really knowing who we are. We all want to be known, but are also scared of it at the same time.
So these actors take the “roles” their characters play into the mix and add who they really are in the first place. So what you get is a lot of depth in their performances because there’s more than just one thing going on. And that’s when you hook the audience because you are onto something interesting. And that’s what CRAZY STUPID LOVE does.