Love relationships are difficult. Left on our own, we crash into one another with devastating regularity and experience unnecessary pain. We may end up discovering that faithful, life-long love is the only true destination, but the trial and error method is painful – even for those who are only observers. Though humorously presented and appropriately named, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" portrays this reality and is not a film we recommend.
This is the second film for co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. They debuted their directing careers with the sexually explicit film , "I Love You, Philip Morris," starring Jim Carrey. In this second film, they cast their characters with skilled actors Steve Carrell as Cal Weaver and Julianne Moore as his wife Emily.
The Weavers are a middle-aged couple with three children and their relationship has become predictable until Emily betrays their marriage with coworker David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Abruptly asking Cal for a divorce in a public restaurant, the adultery by Emily and the subsequent promiscuity of Cal reveals the lack of a spiritual and moral foundation on which they could build their lives.
Due to this lack of a guiding, protecting morality, Cal and Emily are quickly caught in a morass that not only harms them but endangers their children as well. This is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the film as their lack of wisdom in both modeling and teaching their children leaves even their son Robbie's (Jonah Bobo) crush on an older student resolved with pornography.
This morality tale centers not only on Cal and Emily as they find their way through the betrayal to understanding the unique bond their marriage creates, but also on Jacob (Ryan Gosling) and Hannah (Emma Stone). Having lost his father when he was young, Jacob has used his good looks and natural charm to become a player. But living in lonely isolation where he manipulates women into sexual unions, Jacob meets Hannah, and discovers her to be a woman with whom he could have a real relationship. The fact that Jacob has to discover that casual sex only leaves him longing for a relationship of love is a sad commentary on modern morality.
Throughout history, morality based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures has given us the guidance needed to keep us from experiencing love as crazy or stupid. Without morality, love is unprotected and our relationships become crazy and stupid. Perhaps the need for such moral instruction is the unexpressed message of this film.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. Where did you learn about the importance of love in your sexual life? Has your instruction been adequate? Why or why not?
2. The crush that Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) has on Cal causes her to go to a fellow student who is sleeping with older men for advice. Her counsel is predictably degrading. What would you have advised her?
3. When Cal and Emily tell their friends they are getting a divorce, the friends choose to keep their friendship with Emily and not with Cal. Have you ever made such choices in real life? How did you choose?
Cinema In Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. For more reviews: www.cinemainfocus.com.