Hello Fayetteville! It’s been a while since I brought you my feelings on culture. Other than my weekly radio spots on KUAF, there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about regarding Summer 2011, and its culture.
From sequel to sequel, the films of 2011 have disappointed in content (and even good action). New music from Beyoncé and Lady Gaga isn’t exactly commercially successful. If you are looking for singles from either album, you’ll be disappointed. “The Killing” disappointed on TV, and few new books have gotten much buzz.
However, in the tradition of “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Kids are all Right,” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” we finally have something in theaters that will please adults. Recently, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” opened to positive reviews and served as a reminder to audiences that everything doesn’t have to be loud, crude, or obnoxious to qualify as a winner during the summer movie season.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” follows multiple story lines involving a few romantic (or hope-to-be romantic) couples. This is not a perfect movie. It is too long, it has too many characters, and it gets a bit farcical at times. Still, it’s such a refreshing change to the summer landscape, that we can let some of those errors slide a bit.
The film centers on the failing relationship of Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. After Moore has an affair, she asks for a divorce in the first few minutes of the film. That is when a heartbroken Carell, meets Ryan Gosling’s character, who is a modern day Casanova, effortlessly floating between women with fancy suits, great pick-up lines, and a few expensive drinks. Gosling offers to take Carell under his wing and teach him what he knows about women, in an attempt to help Carell connect to his inner Don Juan.
This relationship portrayal is fantastic. Steve Carell has easily shed his “The Office” past and has smoothly moved into adorable loser territory. While he seemed a bit forced in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” he really shines in his work here and the before mentioned “Little Miss Sunshine.” Moore plays the complicated victim/villain well (as she does a lot these days), and Ryan Gosling has finally found a film that pairs his acting chops with his ability to make women (and this man) swoon.
The superstar of the film is Emma Stone, as a potential love interest for Gosling. As the woman who inspires Gosling to lay off the cheese, Stone radiates on the screen and proves what a rising talent she truly is. Pair this with her work in last summer’s “Easy A” and her upcoming work in “The Help,” and you have a huge star in the making.
Kevin Bacon and Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei also star in the film. Tomei shines as only she can as the sassy, yet frustrated, rebound for Carell. She reminds us all what kind of crazy comedic timing this woman has.
Like I said before, it’s not a perfect movie. The bits with Carell’s son and his “dream love interest” are forced, and not that funny. However, anything compared to the acting chops of the main cast, will pale. The four main characters, and Tomei, are expertly portrayed by one of the best casts in years. Gosling and Stone deserve all the press that they have been getting lately.
Although “Crazy, Stupid, Love” may not be flawless, it’s outstanding for summer fare, and it reminds me that summer can have quality, too. That being said, BRING ON THE FALL!
Wayne Bell is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. He moved to Fayetteville in 2003 for his Master’s Degree and you can almost always catch him at Little Bread Co. or Hammontree’s. For more of Wayne’s contributions, visit his author page.