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Crazy, Stupid, Good.

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Romantic comedy best of summer

Love is hard. That's what almost every romantic comedy would have you believe. Love is hard - for a while. There will be obstacles that are inevitably overcome and everything works out and love wins in the end.

Where "Crazy, Stupid, Love." differs from its rom-com brethren is in the way that it shows that difficulty both honestly and humorously.

It's the story of Cal Weaver (Steve Carell, "Dinner for Schmucks"), a man in his early 40s whose wife (Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are All Right") surprises him with a confession of infidelity and a request for a divorce. Cal moves out and finds himself falling in with the womanizing Jacob (Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"), who takes Cal under his wing and helps him find his way in the new dating world.

Meanwhile, the Weavers' 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo, "Choke") is in love with the babysitter, Cal's wife may or may not be falling for a co-worker, Jacob may or may not have met the woman of his dreams (Emma Stone, "Easy A") and it's all very complicated.

Love is hard, this movie seems to be saying, and it might get even harder. But it's worth it.

This film doesn't work without its central actors. There are few who can balance poignancy and absurdity with the deftness of Steve Carell. His honesty shines through in every scene. Moore provides a perfect counterpoint to Carell - their scenes together are sweet and touching and excruciating all at once. Gosling wears this role with comfort - he simply oozes confidence on-screen, making his moments of vulnerability all the more effective. Stone brings her usual strong performance; she's on the verge of breaking out - in five years, she might be the biggest star of the lot.

Dan Fogelman's script is a good one, interweaving a number of different storylines in a coherent, easy-to-follow manner. Juggling so many significant characters in a comedy like this one is no easy feat, but Fogelman does a great job. The movie is just jammed with clever moments and wonderful lines.

However, where I think this movie really shines is when things get awkward. There are some scenes that are flat-out squirm-inducing. Those moments are the ones where we get to see just how hard love can be. The extreme nature of these scenes makes them no less relatable; they're simply magnifications of moments we've all experienced.

"Crazy, Stupid, Love." is a really good movie; the best romantic comedy of the summer in my opinion. Sure, it's not that crazy and it's not at all stupid, but it's got plenty of love. One of three ain't bad. And after all, love is all you need.

4 out of 5

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:40

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