Love is at times crazy, stupid, heartbreaking, and in rare instances enduring. In the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid Love Steve Carell is Cal Weaver, a middle-aged husband and father who has lost his mojo and Julianne Moore is his wife, Emily who startles him out of his date night ‘Dockers and sneakers’ complacency when she asks for a divorce.

Cal’s immediate response to her request is at once hilarious and painful. He becomes a regular at an upscale LA lounge where he sits at the bar moping and complaining aloud to no one in particular about his wife’s infidelity with one David Lindhagen, played by Kevin Bacon who makes the most out of the small but pivotal role.

Enter Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer, a seemingly shallow, well-dressed womanizer who takes pity on Cal after growing tired of hearing his whining and decides to smack him back into manhood. The interplay between the two as Jacob tutors Cal in how to be a “man” again is natural, genuine and at times laugh-out-loud funny.

As so often happens in real life, several of the characters in the film don’t have their feelings returned by the object of their affections. This may be one of the reasons it’s one of the most realistic and heartfelt romantic comedies in a long time. Who hasn’t experienced the pain of rejection or the embarrassment of not having their feelings reciprocated

Jonah Bobo is Cal’s 13 year-old son Robbie who has a crush on his babysitter Jessica played by Analeigh Tipton. Jessica in turn believes she’s in love with an older man. Marisa Tomei doesn’t miss a beat as a schoolteacher who goes from vulnerable, to sex-crazed to jilted and angry.

Emma Stone is lovable and charming as straight arrow law student Hannah, who seems immune to Jacob’s smooth act. I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon but when it comes to Stone it’s warranted. She effortlessly manages to shine even among this standout cast.

The heart of the film though is Cal’s imperfect but undying love for Emily, his high school sweetheart. Julianne Moore is touchingly real as a woman who wants to feel alive and be seen by her husband. The scenes between Cal and Emily truly capture the emotional nuances of a couple that have been together for years and can’t remember when they went from madly in love to coasting along.

There are a few Hollywood movie moments toward the end but what has come before rings so true that you’ll let those slide. Crazy, Stupid, Love is still in theaters. Go see it on the big screen. You’d be crazy and stupid to miss out on such a good film.

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