Crazy, Stupid, Love.
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this affecting, refreshing dramedy about a man re-entering the dating life after decades and finding himself in the process deals head-on with some mature subjects, including infidelity and the art of seduction. Plenty of scenes show a guy teaching another how to pick up women and then actually doing so. That said, the actual sex scenes, which involve no nudity beyond a guy taking his shirt off and clothed couples kissing and straddling each other, are fairly tame. There's also a fair bit of social drinking and swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and a teen character takes risqué pictures of herself.
What's the story?
Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) has been in love with his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), since high school, marrying her at 17. So it's no understatement to say that his world falls to pieces when she declares over dinner at a restaurant that she has strayed and thinks she wants a divorce. Cal has no idea how to be single, spending his first few weeks perched on a bar stool at a nightclub he'd passed many times but never had the guts to enter. The entire scene is foreign to him ... until confident Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a certified womanizer who can persuade almost any girl to go home with him, takes Cal under his wing and decides to teach him how to take interest in both himself and other women. But even Jacob isn't immune to the charms of that someone special -- in this case, Hannah (Emma Stone), on whom his usual approach doesn't seem to work. Meanwhile, Cal's 13-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) is in love with his 17-year-old babysitter (Annaleigh Tipton), who happens to be smitten with Cal.
Is it any good?
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE is surprising, engaging, and astute about humans and relationships and nearly everything else that matters. And that's despite the fact that it hews fairly closely to romcom and buddy comedy conventions; it's both, with a huge heaping of drama, too. Carrell and Gosling are fantastic; neither overplays or underplays. Instead, they seem genuinely comfortable in their movie skins, living their roles rather than "acting" them. (It's nice to see Gosling act hilarious for a change.)
Actually, the entire cast is strong, notably Moore as a genuinely bereft, confused, searching woman who has grown tired of the routine but doesn't quite know how to fix it, and Stone, who sells her character with ease -- she's truly gifted. The best part, however, is the story itself. It's finely attuned to the ways in which complacency erodes our confidence and strips us of the urge to learn and discover. Being stuck in one place too long can doom marriages -- and ourselves.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays marriage problems. Is it realistic or "Hollywoodized"? How do problems between spouses affect a family?
Why is Jacob's seduction formula so successful? Does the movie glamorize this, or is it making a statement about such trickery?
A teen character takes some racy pictures of herself. What are the real-life consequences of that kind of action? Parents, talk to your kids about sexting and other potentially inappropriate behavior.