Crazy, Stupid, Love

crazy-stupid-love-this-is-love

Alee’s Analysis: A comical look at the familiar bad boy/nice guy dichotomy and what people do for love

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a 2011 romantic comedy about middle-aged family man Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) who attempts to find his manhood again after being cheated on by his wife who has asked for a divorce. Drinking his sorrows away at a bar, he is found by Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a noted ladies’ man and young bachelor. Jacob volunteers to transform Cal into the stud he has the potential to be, the man his wife would want to have. What neither of them realized is that life has a way of giving you what you need, which may not be what you want.

Nice Guys Finish Last…Or Do They?

Cal, in addition to be a middle-aged man, is the stereotypical Nice Guy — kind, well-mannered, and completely lacking in perceived masculinity. This, Jacob claims, is a major reason he lost his wife; as he let himself go, he let his wife go. Jacob vows to change Cal’s outlook and appearance, which will in turn change his love fortune.

And it seems to work: Cal’s transformation is successful, on the outside at least. He is able to attract women in large numbers and gains a self-confidence that he never had. At first he is happy with his new lifestyle but he soon finds that the bachelor life is not as great as it seems. To make matters worse, his new identity clashes with what he wants more than anything: to have his wife back.

On Jacob’s end, he realizes that love, true love, is what he really needs. While he is working on Cal, he is soon to get a new persona of his own. Life as a single man no longer satisfies him and he soon finds out just what Cal was pining over.

Love is:

  • Crazy

Cal’s teenage babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) claims to be in love with him and while he is working on himself, she is working on gaining his interest.  Meanwhile, Cal’s son, who she babysits, claims to be in love with her and is working on gaining her interest. Cal doesn’t know about any of this, but the biggest love surprise is yet to come.

  • Stupid

Love is definitely in the air in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and it causes everyone to act out of character. People, in their one-tracked pursuit of love don’t see that their actions are preventing them from getting what they desire — true love and happiness. Cal’s transformation into an alpha man drives away his wife, Jessica’s focus on Cal leaves her in a constant state of anxiety. And, in what they believe is the end, no one is really satisfied with the outcome.

Love Is Worth It

Despite all the craziness and stupidity involved with love, when it’s all over, everyone feels that it was worthwhile. Going through trials for love helped them to better understand and better appreciate the love they always had. And in the end, everyone got what they needed, and if it wasn’t what they wanted — a fantasy love film at its best.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Crazy, Stupid, Love

  1. I’m not really into this type of movies, if it is what I think it is (more on the rom com side than the drama side), but it does open certain old question. Like what’s wrong about the nice guys and women being crazy about the alpha men, which I don’t think it’s true. Women don’t hate nice guys or like bad boys per se. Women are attracted to confidence, and “nice” guys often seem like they are very insecure. Which might not be true, because every other alpha guy I’ve met turned out to have some serious insecurity issues.

  2. Mira,

    “I’m not really into this type of movies, if it is what I think it is (more on the rom com side than the drama side)”

    Yes, it is. It’s heavy on the comedy and has some clear sexual aspects.

    “Like what’s wrong about the nice guys and women being crazy about the alpha men, which I don’t think it’s true. Women don’t hate nice guys or like bad boys per se. Women are attracted to confidence, and “nice” guys often seem like they are very insecure.”

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with nice guys. I personally adore sweet guys. Nice Guys ™ are a different story, however, because their main attribute isn’t niceness, but…other things.

    “every other alpha guy I’ve met turned out to have some serious insecurity issues.”

    Yes! The ones who try hardest to live up to the bad boy/alpha often have issues with feeling secure in themselves. They feel they have to project this persona to be accepted. This is shown in the movie via Ryan Gosling’s character Jacob.

  3. Husband hates Ryan Gosling.

    I haven’t seen this one. Maybe I’ll check it out today. Husband got tomorrow off so a little bit of cuddling when the kids goes to sleep don’t hurt.

    hmm I’m a bit on the fence for movies like this tbh. I guess you can enjoy them when you are half sleeping.

  4. Nkosazana,

    “Husband hates Ryan Gosling.”

    Why?

    I actually think he was pretty good in this movie. He came off as smug and over-confident, but I think that was the point. 🙂

    You should watch it. It wouldn’t hurt to.

  5. Oh he also said he would punch Eric Balfour if he ever met him. He just said he got one of those faces that you hate.

  6. Someone told me to watch this movie but I usually am very annoyed and not amused at all by Steve Carell (except in 40 year old virgin) so I wasnt rushing to see it but wasnt aware that Ryan was in it. I think I will watch it sometime this week.

  7. Nkosazana,

    “Oh he also said he would punch Eric Balfour if he ever met him. He just said he got one of those faces that you hate.”

    Lol, okayyy… the douchebag face. Yes, Ryan might have it a little. That’s part of why he was perfect in his role here. But he doesn’t have it nearly as much as that Eric guy. Sheesh!

    Jess,

    “Someone told me to watch this movie but I usually am very annoyed and not amused at all by Steve Carell (except in 40 year old virgin) so I wasnt rushing to see it but wasnt aware that Ryan was in it.”

    LOL.

    Yes, he is. Does that make it more appealing?

    Oh, he also has a shirtless scene, if that helps you decide. 😉

  8. I’m usually not into these movies, but from your review I may just check it out. 🙂

    I personally adore sweet guys. Nice Guys ™ are a different story, however, because their main attribute isn’t niceness, but…other things.

    Yeah, like they’re really just closet misogynists. I also noticed that some of these Nice Guys(TM) follow the PUA philosophy, so that right there is a red flag for me.

    I’ll admit, I do have a soft for shy guys. 😉 Like most women, I do like confidence, but sometimes men mistake arrogance as confidence and that’s a huge turn off.

  9. I love Jasmin’s “Nice Guys (TM)” label! It’s priceless!

    I agree it’s not really about being nice vs being bad: it’s more about being spineless vs being confident. But many bad boys are insecure; their confidence is only skin deep.

  10. RenKiss,

    “I’m usually not into these movies, but from your review I may just check it out. :)”

    Yay. You might like it.

    “I also noticed that some of these Nice Guys™ follow the PUA philosophy…”

    Yes, they do. But I won’t even get into that… before one pops up on this thread to tell me how mean and inhumane I am to them. 🙂

    “I’ll admit, I do have a soft for shy guys.”

    Me too! Love, love, love shy guys.

    A guy is much better off being shy than having all the “swagger”/bravado in the world, at least when it comes to me.

    Mira,

    Ouch, “spineless”? All the Nice Guys (and former Nice Guys) in the world are cringing right now…

  11. Nice isn’t about being spineless. But certain men who are seen as “nice guys” are spineless and completely insecure, and that’s what women dislike about them, NOT the fact they’re nice. It’s like… They don’t project an image of someone who is nice because he’s nice, but because he doesn’t know how to say no, or because he doesn’t have an opinion of his own, etc.

  12. ^And you just rub it in. 🙂

    I think some nice guys are aware of the fact that they tend to be lacking in confidence. But they think that women are too hard on them for this human frailty and that they are unnecessarily overlooked for guys who do have the confidence, but also have less appealing qualities.

    At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from the comments and emails from some self-identified nice guys.

  13. Ok, just because a guy is “self-identified” as nice doesn’t mean he really is one. maybe he is. Maybe he’s a nice guy TM. Maybe he’s seen as nice because people see him as “bland” and there’s no other defining characteristic to comment on, so people call him “nice”.

    That being said, I believe my love for shy, quirky, introvert, non-flashy non-macho non-“alpha” guys is known. If we look in these strict categories, I’d take a nice guy over an alpha any day, EVEN if we’re talking about sex only (alphas are often quite disappointing in this aspect, because they think all they need to do is to be there… But I digress).

    So I wouldn’t want anyone to take my previous comments in this thread as a pro-“alpha” speech. I dislike the “alphas”. They are egoistic and, 9 times out of 10, insecure and weak… And while I don’t have anything against insecure men, I don’t want his insecurities to be covered in some macho crap and egoism and “I’m better than you” attitude. I don’t even want to mention PUAs; they are case for themselves.

    But the fact I don’t dislike men even if they’re insecure doesn’t mean other women react the same way I do. A guy – well, anybody – should show some sort of a character to be respected. I knwo this myself, because I appear as completely spineless in real life, and I can rarely express my opinions and I have a major trouble to say no. It works against me as a female (and it worked against me in dating situations, because guys were ready to take advantage of me (I’m not talking about sexual aspect here) or they weren’t interested in me, because they wanted to have a girl with an actual character). I don’t lack character; quite the contrary, sometimes it’s too much of it (too much quirkiness and weirdness and social awkwardness), but I don’t know how to show it.

    With men, I assume it’s even worse, because being like this is seen as worse when you are a guy. So I do think that to be labeled a nice guy basically means: “bland”. This shouldn’t be mistaken for an “ideal nice guy” all women talk about (you know, all women say they want to meet a nice guy, but they are nowhere to be found, only jerks). News flash: this “nice guy” they are talking about is not the same as being called a nice guy (in a way of rejection).

  14. I watched this movie with Carl, he’s a good sport ;-). I enjoyed it and I love all the actors in it. Especially Ryan, he is a hot Scorpio with the same Bday as me. Did you see Drive with Ryan? That movie is now a favorite of mine; especially the soundtrack! 🙂

  15. Well. What can I say about this movie.. hmm….. It starts out crazy I admit and it ends stupid. I like the first 45 minutes. But it did end up like every single Romantic comedy. Only positive thing that came out of this movie was that hubby felt frisky after watching it for some reason and I haven’t had any in three days.

    What a terrible woman that wife of his. The nerve of her. And what a wimp wanting that woman back.

    Drive away his wife? No good woman would cheat on her husband. She would work on her marriage as best as she can and if it don’t work out then maybe it’s better to divorce.

    Lets not pretend that these woman that are picked up in bars are decent high quality women anyway. Really? A couple of sweet words and she opens her legs for the first pretty douche that comes along. They can have each other for all I care, I don’t care about ‘alpha’ and the women that falls for them.

    Ended with the biggest standard trope ever.

    Did you watch this movie with farm boy? 🙂

  16. Okay I just watched it 🙂

    Okay whoevers lurking and hasnt seen the movie and wants to, dont read any further unless you want to know what happened.

    Didnt think Id end up liking it as much as I did. The first half I thought it was just okay. Ryan is cute but didnt like his character (just didnt buy him as a playboy to the extent they were trying to make it cause his suits and manurisms came off too metrosexual for me to buy him as this ultimate alpa male ladies man) and Emma Stone annoys me all the time but what ended up making it so enjoyable for me was the 13 year old and his “love” for his babysitter and then the babysitters “love” for the dad. That whole storyline had so many funny scenes. The babysitter and the son stole the show for me and the funniest scene in the movie of course was when he found out Jacob was dating his daughter. The graduation speech scene was hella fake but that kid is a good little actor. I also thought Marisa Tomei was really funny as well.

  17. Ah common Jessica! You could see that ending coming a mile away! It’s like the the writers went “OHHHHHHH how are we going to tie this up!” And one went, “I KNOW! Lets go with this!” and you goes. “Oh you wouldn’t.”

    Seriously Ryan goes away for half the movies and just appears at the end of it. I thought they were done with him.

    Then came the speech >_> yeah they really did the speech.

  18. Mira,

    It was so funny because right after I read your comment I was reading elsewhere about “advice everyone should get”. One of them was that women don’t care if you’re nice or not, they care about whether you’re confident.

    Nikisha,

    “I watched this movie with Carl, he’s a good sport ;-)”

    LOL.

    “I enjoyed it and I love all the actors in it. Especially Ryan, he is a hot Scorpio with the same Bday as me.”

    You two have the same birthday? Oh, you lovely Scorpios! 🙂

    I did like Ryan in this, and Analeigh Tipton, the babysitter.

    “Did you see Drive with Ryan?”

    I haven’t… should I?

  19. Hah, you guys –Jess and Nkosazana– actually went and watched the movie the same night. That’s great. 🙂

    Nkoszana,

    “Only positive thing that came out of this movie was that hubby felt frisky after watching it for some reason and I haven’t had any in three days.”

    LOL.

    “What a terrible woman that wife of his. The nerve of her. And what a wimp wanting that woman back.”

    But he’d loved her since he was 15! Remember “[True] love keeps no record of wrongs…”

    😛

    “Lets not pretend that these woman that are picked up in bars are decent high quality women anyway. Really? A couple of sweet words and she opens her legs for the first pretty douche that comes along.”

    A lot of those women are looking to hook up with someone anyway, so they don’t need much prodding.

    “Did you watch this movie with farm boy? :)”

    I watched it with my brother at Christmas time. 🙂

    I wouldn’t watch this kind of movie with KG. Too much comedy/overt sexuality, not enough la-di-da romance.

    Jess,

    Didnt think Id end up liking it as much as I did.”

    Me neither.

    “Ryan is cute but didnt like his character (just didnt buy him as a playboy to the extent they were trying to make it”

    What? He was so believable as “le ladies man”. He looks like he should be one.

    “The graduation speech scene was hella fake but that kid is a good little actor.”

    That scene would have been so routine, but they had to add the funny bits to shake up things a little.

    Nkosazana,

    ‘Ah common Jessica! You could see that ending coming a mile away! It’s like the the writers went “OHHHHHHH how are we going to tie this up!” And one went, “I KNOW! Lets go with this!” and you goes. “Oh you wouldn’t.” ‘

    LOL.

    But are you really telling me you saw that twist coming? That was just so random, plus there were so many other things going on that you wouldn’t even be thinking about that.

  20. I was not expecting the twist AT ALL and usually I do see them coming from a mile away and can predict the whole movie in the first 5 min. The movie the Orphan was another one with a twist I didnt see coming at all.

    Yeah I didnt buy Ryan as a womanizer at least not this particularly character because Id be turned off by him and cant imagine those lines working on women. This whole “do you find me attractive” business when you walk up to someone? WTF. Morris Chesnutt did that in two can play that game during the scene he met Vivica, so lame but I did like when Hannah went back to Jacob’s house and laughed all night. I like when he’s like “Can I put my shirt back on now”? and she goes “No” haha thats so something Id say.

    And yeah the babysitter was so good in this! She played that part really well. I enjoyed her scenes more than the main storyline.

  21. Wait, wait… There’s a twist? Ok, please tell me it’s something challenging, like, Steve and Ryan falling in love with each other! Now that would be a great movie.

    Alee,

    I don’t get it… Why does it have to be a romantic movie to watch with KG? My husband and I both hate romantic comedies, so we watch either heavy British/Irish dramas (Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, or any Irish drama, really – they are all heavy), or we watch whatever movie is popular at the moment just to see if it’s ok (like Sherlock Holmes, etc.)

  22. Jess,

    “Yeah I didnt buy Ryan as a womanizer at least not this particularly character because Id be turned off by him and cant imagine those lines working on women. This whole “do you find me attractive” business when you walk up to someone?”

    Oh yeah, he was pretty bad in that scene. But I thought he was good as Cal’s trainer. Making him over into a douchebag, just like him. 🙂

    “yeah the babysitter was so good in this! She played that part really well. I enjoyed her scenes more than the main storyline.”

    Me too. She’s an interesting character; very convincing. This was only her second or third film, but I’m going to see what else she is in to watch.

    Mira,

    “Wait, wait… There’s a twist?”

    Hmmm, well it’s more like a surprise. But yes.

    “Ok, please tell me it’s something challenging, like, Steve and Ryan falling in love with each other! Now that would be a great movie.”

    LMAO.

  23. Mira,

    “I don’t get it… Why does it have to be a romantic movie to watch with KG?”

    Oh, I meant to reply to this: It doesn’t have to be a romantic movie, necessarily. Just not one like this. I’m just not comfortable watching movies such as these, with lots of sexual gestures and objectification, with him. I’m a romantic, you understand. 🙂

  24. Alee,
    I don’t know what type of movies your into but I loved the movie Drive. I recommend it if you don’t mind some harsh murder scenes. 😉

  25. Nikisha,

    I like all sorts of movies, but comedy is probably the type I like the least.

    Lots of violence I can’t deal with at all, but a quick, harsh murder scene I can live with. 🙂

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