Crazy, Stupid, Love (May Contain Spoilers)

Steve Carell has managed to consistently prove that he is great at what he does, and what he does is a mixture of side-splitting comedy, cringe-worthy moments, and puppy-dog-eyed drama. But the question I put to you is this – can too much of a good thing be bad for you?

In Crazy, Stupid, Love, Steve Carell does his usual thing of being the victim character thrown into an uncomfortable life-style while someone new tries to pick him up, turn him around, and make him into someone new, only for him to find out that the thing he needed the most was there in front of him the whole time. Admittedly, this is a formula that works well for Steve Carell – its tried, its tested, and its proved time and time again that he can pull it off, so why not one more? Crazy, Stupid, Love sees Steve Carell play family man Cal Weaver who, at the start of the film, is told by his wife (Julianne Moore) that she slept with someone else and wants a divorce, thus uprooting Cal from everything he knows and loves. Soon enough, after failing miserably on the singles scene, Cal meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a young, handsome player who takes on Cal as a protégé and teaches him all about how to be the best man he can be. Before long, Cal is a changed man – but obviously, it doesn’t end there, and Cal has to dodge awkward situations with his kids babysitter, his son’s teacher (Marissa Tomei) and his ex-wife’s new man on the scene (Kevin Bacon), all while Jacob himself finds a woman who is a complete game-changer for him (Emma Stone) and makes him want to change his ways from what he’s taught Cal.

Essentially, Crazy, Stupid, Love feels like a mixture of 40 Year-Old Virgin (again) and The Kids Are Alright, but that might be partially down to the fact Julianne Moore is in it. There are elements of a lot of previous Steve Carell films in the mix here like Dan In Real Life and others, but the mix of big name stars who are so recognisable and play very different characters from each other manage to bring new and interesting elements into the film. Ryan Gosling does a great job of playing the young, hip player and will surely be the reason a lot of women flock to the cinemas for this film, but Emma Stone comes very close to stealing the show with her usual charming characteristics. The only other person that comes close to stealing the spotlight is newcomer Analeigh Tipton as Jessica, the babysitter with an unhealthy crush on the older man Cal.

While there are a lot of laughs in Crazy, Stupid, Love and a lot of original lines courtesy of Mr. Carell and the creative team behind it, it does feel like the film goes on for nearly 30 minutes too long. Going into the last quarter of the film, everything starts becoming a little too predictable and you start to really see the resemblance between this film and every other film that resembles this one, and after the last big twist of the film 30 minutes from the end, everything seems to flatline and just sort of keep rolling on rather than really build towards something. Personally, I think it would have perhaps been a more interesting way to end a film if they had ended it after everyone gets into a big fight and walks away from each other 30 minutes from when the actual end is, but then you can’t expect a film like this to have commercial appeal and have a non-commercial ending at the same time. That would be too much like having your cake and eating it, I suppose, for a film like this.

Crazy, Stupid, Love seems to work well within its own boundaries as a film, but by no stretch of the imagination breaks any kind of mould, but does get redeemed from its unusual line-up of A-Class actors. Crazy, Stupid, Love gets 6 out of 10 from me for being watchable and genuinely funny in places, but ultimately nothing too new.

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Bridesmaids (May Contain Spoilers)

The typical summer chick flick comes in many forms. Recent years have seen the travesties of Sex and the City not once, but twice, and weren’t quite met with the sense of “Oh, this looks like a good way to spend an evening for both the guys and the girls” than the producers had perhaps hoped. However, producer of 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig may well have gotten the mix just right with Bridesmaids.

Bridesmaids focuses on the broke and lovelorn Annie (Kristen Wiig) who is asked by her lifelong friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be Maid of Honour at her wedding. But in the process of organising various parties, showers and a wedding as well, Annie’s life begins to unravel as she tries to keep up with Lillian’s perfect new friend Helen (Rose Byrne) and things start going from bad to worse. At the same time Annie has to deal with various love troubles including her new interest Nathan (Chris O’Dowd) and her lack of money, but is still determined to show that she can be the best Maid of Honour there is.

The script, which was partly written by Kristen Wiig herself, is very witty and even stretches towards being pretty crude in some places, but doesn’t dwell on it too much and doesn’t turn the whole film into a two hour fart gag instead. What Bridesmaids does pretty well is capture a more sinister and competitive side to wedding arrangements, but keeps a similar comedy style to Knocked Up and other similar films. The comedy mostly comes from Kristen Wiig’s character flaws and her hopeless attempts at over-compensating for her downfalls.

Rather than playing on the crude (though, it must be said, the food poisoning scene is one of the funniest of the movie) which it would have been so easy to do, Bridesmaids goes for a more female-oriented style of comedy with jokes that men will find funny but are obviously made so that women will get them first, and laugh that much harder.

Essentially, Bridesmaids plays out a lot like a version of Knocked Up that has been tailored for women more than men, but also done in a way that guys won’t be entirely put off of seeing it. Plus, seeing familiar faces of British comedy like Matt Lucas and Chris O’Dowd (from The IT Crowd) in actual roles in this made it all the more interesting to watch, and even though Matt Lucas doesn’t have much of a part Chris O’Dowd’s character does get plenty of lines and plays a very likeable character and manages to keep his Irish accent a lot as well.

Bridesmaids gets a firm 6 out of 10 for being an incredibly funny comedy with plenty of material to poke fun at (especially with Melissa McCarthy’s uncouth character chipping in with random comments, and perhaps becomes the female Zach Galifiankis from The Hangover?) without relying on too many crude jokes to get its laughs.

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