Disclaimer: Spoilers Ahead!
Crazy, Stupid, Love (CSL) written and directed by Dan Fogelman consists of the brilliant cast of Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling. This romantic comedy begins with a stern-looking Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) who has just been told that he’s been cuckolded by his wife who slept with David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). His mulling over the same drink at the same bar for nights at end (sometimes even the day!) invites the attention of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a womanizer. Taking pity over his condition, Palmer offers to give him advice about women and using the perfect move. The rest of the movie follows how their personal lives intertwine, much to Cal’s dismay.
CSL is a tightly wound script with a convenient setting but all said and done, it is definitely Fogelman’s finer works garnering three awards for Emma Stone and one for the casting of the movie.
Typical of Fogelman’s writing style where people from distinct walks of life come together through a convoluted sequence of events. While Carell has delivered a good performance of the heart-broken husband, Gosling outshines him as the alpha male of the movie. Gosling has not only managed to act as the cool, womanizing, and ‘immoral’ man but has also done a great job portraying his role as a sensitive and caring boyfriend. A man who truly wore his heart on his sleeve with Hannah (Emma Stone), Gosling has delivered a stellar performance only next to Drive (2011). However, what cannot be overlooked is the loose end of the story with Hannah and her boyfriend, Richard. She technically cheats on him by going home with Jacob that night but that part of the story remains unexplored.
As for the female cast, both Julianne Moore (Emily Weaver) and Emma Stone have managed to balance this movie to perfection. While the primary focus of CSL remains on the male cast, the females manage to draw attention towards themselves without trying at all.
Much like Fogelman’s This Is Us, CSL follows the basic trope of the lives of different people coming together in an intriguing and peculiar fashion resulting in the synthesis of a script that gives each character the space to breathe while simultaneously awarding them with the ability to intricately become a part of each other’s lives. The role of Hannah Weaver is reminiscent of Rebecca Pearson in terms of temperaments.
Releasing in September is Fogelman’s Life Itself, the trailer to which once again prompts to the possibility of individuals coming together in ways unbeknownst to the audience. You can watch the trailer here and figure for yourself.
The nagging question however remains is that, has Dan Fogelman found himself a comfort zone to work in? Citing examples of the two movies and one TV show, the writer/director has constantly given us heartbreak with love, comedy with tears, and real-time romance, but has this become something that he has eased into a bit too much?
In conclusion, CSL has my admiration and intrigue from the very beginning. If this is indeed Fogelman’s comfort zone, he does a brilliant job working in it.