Crazy, Stupid, Love

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Analeigh Tipton. Comedy. Written by Dan Fogelman. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

FILM SYNOPSIS: At fortysomething, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream—good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his “perfect” life quickly unravels. Worse, in today’s single world, Cal, who hasn’t dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal’s eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style that can’t be found at Supercuts or The Gap. Cal and Emily aren’t the only ones looking for love in what might be all the wrong places: Cal’s 13-year-old son, Robbie, is crazy about his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica, who harbors a crush on Cal. And despite Cal’s makeover and his many new conquests, the one thing that can’t be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading him back to where he began.

PREVIEW REVIEW: This is the perfect movie to relate my frustration as a Christian who reviews films. On one hand, it’s a clever, sensitive and very funny comedy about people finding, out of all the billions of people on this planet, that one soul mate. On the other hand, there’s no evidence in this film that the several seeking characters do so guided by the Holy Spirit.

I was so impressed by the film’s structure, the actors’ performances and the message that love is not found through promiscuity and that it must be fought for. It is, however, full of eye candy and comic sexploitation.

Each character gets his or her own moment to shine, revealing 3-dimensional personalities, and again, Emma Stone is riveting, with an undeniable ability as a comedic actress. Ms. Stone nearly pops off the screen. Yes, she’s pretty, and possesses eyes to die for, but she also has that certain something beyond talent, that indefinable “It” factor that makes one a star. And she’s not alone in her expertise. There simply isn’t a bad or mundane performance among the entire cast.

Alas, there’s many a crudity, though certainly it is not as vulgar as most comedies of late. Where Friends With Benefits was outrageous and raw, Crazy, Stupid, Love is bawdy, but smart. That said, it is a film that defines itself on Hollywood terms, meaning each of the central figures seems devoid of any spiritual awareness. Once again, moviemakers skirt the spiritual side of mankind in preference to the physical and mental.

Most of the leads are not only willing to sleep together outside marriage, but do so on the first date. Still, by film’s end, it is a movie stating that it’s wise to just be with one person, forsaking all others. If you can be entertained by a movie where several of the lead characters utter “Jesus” as an expletive for relieving frustration, and you don’t mind the generous helping of sexuality, which is both denounced and exploited, then you may find the film amusing and enlightening.

You see my dilemma. To some I sound fanatical, thinking I need the Gospel message in every movie. Others assume I’ve gone over to the dark side because I can find positives in a movie that also contains sexually permissive situations.

Here’s the other part of my dilemma: finding a DVD alternative that contains similar themes but without the objectionable material in order to please some, while seeking one that amuses everyone. So, if I were to suggest the screwball comedy The Awful Truth with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne because it’s like-themed, hysterical and clean, some will find the concept of viewing a black-and-white film from decades past unthinkable.

Ultimately, I do not tell my readers which movies they should or should not attend. I do not presume to be your arbiter of taste and conscience. I do, however, suggest that anything we do in deference to our Creator or as an attempt to show regard for family and friends, including which movies we support, is pleasing to the soul and our soul mate. So, read the content, then decide.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are several crude and suggestive sexual comments sprinkled throughout; a 13-year-old boy is caught masturbating; teen girls have an explicit conversation about sex with older men.

Obscene Language: Each character swears, including the thirteen-year-old boy; around twenty obscenities, mostly the s-word, and an obscene gesture.

Profanity: Five profane uses of Jesus’ name.

Violence: A brief but comic brawl.

Sex: Though there is no nudity or graphic sex scenes, there are a few sexual situations that become either bawdy or sensual.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking, many scenes take place in singles’ bars.

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers.

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