Crazy, Stupid, Love review, with optional spoilers.

Conversations in real time.
July 28 2011 2:32 PM

Should You See Crazy, Stupid, Love?

An IM debate.

(Continued from Page 1)

Grose: Sort of.He's attractive enough.I don't know what the scene is like at The Only Bar in L.A. Maybe in this mystical place, Steve Carell's steez is catnip. Who knows.

Swansburg: Well, it definitely helped that the female to male ratio was 10:1. The Only Bar in L.A. has a discerning bouncer.

Grose: It didn't take me out of the plot that he was suddenly getting lots of ladies. The acting was good enough.

Swansburg: You were really locked into that plot, Jess! Did you think that Gosling and Stone had good chemistry?

Grose: Very good chemistry. And just one note about Emma Stone: I love her!

She brought a brightness and intelligence to her role as a good-girl law student that could have been awfully bland with another actress (and, as we know from my interview with Ryan Gosling, their big love scene together was improvised).

Swansburg: I will stipulate that Stone was great, for the reasons you enumerate. And the scene when Jacob finally gets her back to his place was, I thought, a clever deconstruction of a standard rom-com seduction scene. But what about her terrible friend!

Grose: OK, yes. Let's discuss the terrible friend.She was such a stock character—the straight-talking, hard-drinking sidekick. Is it progress that the sassy black best friend has been replaced by the sassy Asian best friend? Probably not!

Swansburg: I don't think so.


Grose: I do confess that I laughed at some of her jokes, though.

Swansburg: As the characters in this movie might say: Seriously?

Grose: Seriously.

Swansburg: Wow. OK, I've got another hard one for you. Defend the plot line in which Cal's son pines for his baby-sitter, played by the pouty Analeigh Tipton. I dare you!

Grose: That was over the top.And the overly precocious kid is a type I pretty much never want to see again.In anything.

Swansburg: We are of one mind on that. Although I did like that when the baby-sitter walks in on him masturbating, he just rolls with it and confesses "I was thinking about you." Precocious indeed.

Grose: It's funny, we seem to agree on so many aspects of this movie, and yet you would not recommend people see it. Why do you think that is? I think it goes back to my suspicion that you expect too much from a big-budget rom-com. It was much better than say, Valentine's Day. Or many other star-studded extravaganzas. It was clever, and I laughed aloud at least four times. That is enough for my summer viewing!

Swansburg: Good question. I think it's because you were able to forgive the movie its failures of realism and I was not. This is a point that Jeff Wells makes in his truly savage review, and I agree with him: Just because this is a big-budget comedy doesn't mean that it can get away with misrepresenting how life is actually lived. If the audience doesn't recognize the world or the predicaments of these characters, what is there to laugh about? For example, the scene in which Cal's friend "breaks up" with him because he and his wife have chosen to side with Emily in the divorce. That rang completely false: He brings Cal some cologne from Macy's as a consolation! Come on. It took me two scenes to get over that. And I guess I also just didn't think the movie was all that clever. I was rolling my eyes a lot.

OK, there's a spoiler we should discuss, but we really shouldn't ruin it for the poor readers who are persuaded by your case for this movie.

Grose: Yes, we definitely need to discuss. Readers, click here for spoilage.

Swansburg: In honor of Emma Stone's character, who, as you noted, is a budding attorney, let's each offer a closing argument.

Grose: Readers, you should go see this movie because it's a well-acted romantic comedy with an unpredictable plot. It is truly commercial, so if that is not your bag, go see The Future instead, which will probably have far fewer conventional things to say about love and marriage. Also: Ryan Gosling's abs. The defense rests.

Swansburg: Readers, it pains me to say this, because I respect the opinion of my colleague Jess and I have abiding affection for the fine cast of this movie, but you should not go see Crazy, Stupid, Love. It is long, and yet the characters are thinly sketched, probably because there are too many of them. The film will damage your rightfully high opinion of Marissa Tomei. She has been done a criminal disservice by the directors, who coaxed out of her a histrionic performance that felt as if it belonged in a different (also bad) movie. Also, the mother of the baby-sitter in this movie uses the word vajayjay.

Grose: Point for the prosecution.

Swansburg: It is posited that it is cool to drink mojitos.

Grose: I think it is neutral to drink mojitos.

Swansburg: We'll let the jury decide that one I guess.

Grose: Should I disclose that I had two glasses of wine before I saw this movie? Does it color my review?

Swansburg: I demand a mistrial!

Grose: I would have passed a breathalyzer test!

Swansburg: If you do go to this movie, have two glasses of wine before you see it.

Grose: Fair enough.

Swansburg: Two stiff mojitos would be even better.

Grose: John, as always, it has been a delight IM-ing with you.

Swansburg: Likewise! Let's get out of here.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.



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