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.
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.
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.