There is nothing inherently wrong with a predictable movie. Predictability has its virtues, after all. Patterns emerge because people like to see certain situations repeated. It is what a movie does in between plot contrivances that matters.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a movie built on such contrivances that offers nothing new but still manages to be something special.
The story focuses on Cal (Steve Carell), a middle-aged man who finds himself in a marital crisis after his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), confesses to an affair and suggests they divorce. Consoling himself at a hip, upscale bar, Cal meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a young Don Juan type, who pledges to help Cal “reclaim his manhood” and forget about Emily. All initially goes according to the plan until Cal grows to miss his family, and Jacob questions his own philandering after falling in love.
From the start of the film, it is never in doubt that Cal and Emily will get back together. Nobody goes to see a romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Julianne Moore for a sad ending. But even though the film does just about everything you would expect and ends up exactly where you knew it would, it is entertaining (and even touching) every step of the way. It is a credit to the screenplay’s well-drawn characters and the endearing performances of the cast. (Seriously, Steve Carell could float a movie on his likability.)
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” serves as a nice, humanistic palate cleanser in a summer chock-full of super heroes, boy wizards and gross-out movies. And while it may not offer anything particularly unique or exciting, it is at least nice to take a break from explosions and CGI to see a relatively simple movie about people being people.
Devin Vaughn, a former Princeton resident, resides in Cambridge, Mass. He can be reached at email@example.com.