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Crazy Stupid Love (2011)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/1/2011

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/1/2011

Buy It 11.1.11 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with UltraViolet Digital Copy or Download to Own - http://bit.ly/qTqrZE

The most poignant moment in Crazy, Stupid, Love. comes early in the film (and I don't feel that this is a spoiler, as it was prominently featured in the trailer). Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is in his office crying. When he tells a co-worker that he's getting divorced, the man is relieved, as everyone thought that Cal may have cancer. This is a very astute observation, as it shows how our society now seems to place so little value on marriage. Cal's world is falling apart, but those around think that they are being caring by worrying about his health. This scene shows that Crazy, Stupid, Love. has the potential to be a smart, moving movie. But, that potential is unrealized.

As the film opens, we are introduced to Cal and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), who are having a seemingly pleasant dinner until Emily announces that she wants a divorce. On the ride home, she also discloses that she's cheated. Once at home, they break the news to their kids, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and Molly (Joey King). Robbie has issues of his own, as he's in love with his babysitter, Jessica (Ashleigh Tipton). Meanwhile, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) spends his nights at the bar, picking up a new woman every night. However, his charms don't work on young lawyer Hannah (Emma Stone). Cal comes to the bar, and Jacob decides to take the man under his wing and give him a makeover. After getting new clothes and a haircut, Cal begins to observe how Jacob is able to pick up women. Although this is exciting, he misses Emily.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a somewhat odd movie which plays like a darker, more cynical American version of Love Actually, as it explores different relationships. Whereas Love Actually followed several couples who were discovering love, Crazy, Stupid, Love. goes in the opposite direction, as we watch Cal's marriage dissolve. Then, we meet Jacob, who doesn't seem to believe in any relationship which lasts more than one night. We also have Robbie, who is constantly spurned by Jessica, despite his determination and his arguments as to why they should be together despite their age difference.

The movie looks at these characters and explores the issues which affect modern romance. Cal and Emily grew apart because their marriage had grown stale and repetitive, although Cal didn't notice this as it was happening. Jacob is emotionally cut off, and even when he's chatting up women in the bar, he makes the conversation about them, never revealing anything about himself. When he decides to train Cal, he focuses on Cal's physical appearance, never once discussing feelings. Robbie's feelings towards Jessica are the most honest, but as he's only 13, they are seen as childish. Again, the scene with Cal crying at work really makes a statement on where love in America is today.

The problem with Crazy, Stupid, Love. is that all of this doesn't add up to much. The movie talks a lot about love and feelings, but it's never moving. Perhaps it was because all of the characters were so damaged in their own way, but I didn't feel anything for them. The structure of the movie is questionable as well. Again, the story follows several different characters, and the tone is constantly shifting. About half-way through, the film takes an odd turn as each scene has the sort of emotional weight which makes it feel like the final scene in the film. The real turning point comes when the plot twist is revealed. Did you expect a plot twist in Crazy, Stupid, Love.? I didn't either, and while it's interesting and certainly surprising (I'm talking Fight Club surprising), it only serves to make the movie feel even more disjointed.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a movie which can't make up its mind. It shows the fragility of love, but it also shows how people can fall in love very unexpectedly. However, both are shown as being equally unappealing. The movie is never very funny or touching. The characters are somewhat well-drawn and the acting is good, but I felt that it could have been so much more. In the end, I have to say, "Steve Carell left The Office to pursue movies like this?"

Crazy, Stupid, Love. reminded me of the fact that I've never finished The Scarlet Letter on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp, showing on defects from the source material. However, the picture is noticeably grainy, especially in daytime shots. (My wife, "Why is this so grainy?") The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, and the depth is appreciable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a drama, we don't get a lot of dynamic audio effects here. The club scenes provide nice stereo and surround sound, as we hear the crowd around us. The music in these scenes also sounds fine, and produces mild subwoofer action. There is a nice feeling of the stereo effects highlighting sounds which move from side-to-side and from front-to-back.

The Crazy, Stupid, Love. Blu-ray Disc contains only three extra features. "Steve and Ryan Walk Into a Bar" (7 minutes) is an interview with Carell and Gosling on the bar set where they talk about the bar, dating advice, their characters, and what it was like working together. This is fun because Gosling laughs the whole time, and it seems that we never see this side of him. "The Player Meets His Match" (6 minutes) takes a closer look at the Jacob character, and his way of operating, and what it's like when he meets Hannah. The Disc contains fourteen DELETED SCENES which run about 12 minutes. Most of these are very short and are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film. There are two new lines here which are pretty funny and the "Alternate Ending", which is simply additional footage, is actually quite charming and they should have left it in.

Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long