Whenever an actor leaves a television show that made him or her famous in order to pursue a movie career, it can be a gamble. The most obvious case of this not working out is David Caruso after he left NYPD Blue. The flip side of that coin is George Clooney leaving ER. This brings us to Steve Carrell who has chosen to leave The Office. Although he filmed Crazy, Stupid, Love before his final season on the popular television show, it's his first film post-The Office.
Carrell definitely makes the case that he has the potential to have a long and successful career if he keeps choosing film roles wisely. Crazy, Stupid, Love is not his first foray into dramatic territory; he proved to be quite excellent in Little Miss Sunshine back in 2006. He proves here that that movie was not a fluke by once again portraying a flawed yet likable character that is easy to relate to. As Cal Weaver, his wife has just told him that she would like a divorce because she's not in love anymore and has had an affair. Cal goes into shock and as he tries to figure out what to do with his life, he meets Jacob Palmer, played by Ryan Gosling.
Jacob is what the kids call a "player." He's a good looking guy, he knows it and he knows the ladies think it. He uses that to his advantage to have one night stands and he teaches Cal his methods of aquirring conquests. Gosling is a true chameleon as an actor; each movie he's in, he's playing something completely different than his last role. He effortlessly fills the shoes of a guy who appears to be all surface level but as the film progresses, we see there is much deeper issue that explains his personality and outlook on life.
The supporting cast is excellent as well. Julianne Moore plays Cal's wife Emily. Initially, you find yourself intensely disliking her character for what she did to Cal but as Crazy, Stupid, Love unfolds, you begin sympathizing for her and hoping that she and Cal find a way to work it out. Jonah Bobo plays their 12 year old son Robbie who is hopeless romantic and feels that his babysitter is his soulmate. Bobo is great and shows decent range for a child actor. Emma Stone plays Hannah, a law student whose life takes sudden turn after her boyfriend doesn't propose to her after she thought he would. Stone is proving to be a fantastic actress and will likely have a long career ahead of her. On a side note, her boyfriend is played by Josh Groban. Yes, that Josh Groban. I swear the moment he first appeared on screen I could hear the entire theater collectively say, "Is that Josh Groban?"
The chemistry between Carrell and Gosling is a big reason why this movie is as good as it is. It's especially impressive that Carrell is able to go toe-to-toe with Gosling and have just as much presence. Crazy, Stupid, Love is also a great movie due to the writing. Screenwriter Dan Fogelman wrote a genuine film that is real and heartfelt from top to bottom. Sadly, when you watch this movie, you realize it's rare that movies like this get made anymore. Why that is is beyond me but it helps you appreciate when films like Crazy, Stupid, Love come along. You should definitely check this film out at the Cinemagic in Hooksett or Merrimack.