When a friend suggested we watch the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, I looked up the premise—‘a middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.’ After reading that I thought it would be just another Hollywood chick flick that undermines marriage and belittles true love. I could not have been more wrong.
Despite the fact that Crazy, Stupid, Love is a Hollywood chick flick, the movie portrays morally upright themes and a positive view of marriage. True to its title, the movie focuses on the crazy (and sometimes stupid) aspects of three different relationships. A closer look at these three relationships reveals that love may be crazy, but it is not stupid.
The focal relationship of the movie is the marriage between Cal Weaver (Steve Carrel) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore). In the beginning of the film, Emily confesses to Cal that she cheated on him and wants a divorce. She tries to explain that the two of them have grown apart and their marriage is no longer working. Cal handles it as well as one would expect—drowning his sorrows in a local bar. That’s where he meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a professional womanizer. Jacob takes Cal under his wing and teachers him how to rediscover his manhood and pick up women. Despite a rough start, Cal develops a confident attitude and a way with women, but rather than this leading him towards careening young women, it ultimately leads him back to Emily. That was a twist I wasn’t expecting from Hollywood. Throughout the movie, Emily and Cal rediscover the love they have for each other, and they realize that marriage is something worth fighting for.
By experiencing the shallow life of one hook up after another, Cal remembers how much he loves his wife and his life with her. He realizes that the only romantic relationship he wants is the one with his soul mate, but he isn’t the only one to learn this lesson. Cal’s mentor in the art of seducing women, Jacob Palmer, also comes to see how today’s hook up culture is ultimately unfulfilling and lonely when he meets Hannah (Emma Stone). By developing a relationship built on something other than sex, Jacob switches his life of empty hook ups for one with a meaningful relationship. Jacob learns that lust can’t satisfy but love can.
The third relationship is outwardly the most ridiculous in the entire movie, but it is actually the most important—Cal’s son Robbie’s crush on his babysitter. Robbie is Romantic with a capital R. He believes in the existence of one’s soul mate and doing anything to prove your love to that person. He inspires his dad to fight harder to win his mom back. Robbie knows even before Cal does that his parents will restore their relationship because he believes that love conquers all—fights, age differences, misunderstandings, flaws. Robbie is the heart of the story, the constant proponent of love and hope.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is not your average Hollywood romance. Through these three relationships this film tells us that marriages are worth fighting for, that the hook up culture is unfulfilling, and that love is faithful. If you’re looking for an uplifting romance movie, this is it. If you’re looking for a quality movie with good themes, this is it. I was skeptical when I read the premise of this movie, but after watching it several times it has become one of my favorite movies. It is a much-needed perspective in Hollywood. It has something to teach middle school kids experiencing their first crush, young adults searching for relationships, and long married couples. Because love may be crazy, but it is not stupid.