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Originally published July 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM | Page modified July 28, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Movie review

'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' is punctuated with all the right rom-com stuff

Attention, movie fans starving for a good rom-com: "Crazy, Stupid, Love." with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore is here to mend your heart, broken by too many bad films.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3.5 stars

'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman. 118 minutes. Rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language. Several theaters.

quotes John Requa, co-director of this movie, is from Burien, a suburb of Seattle... Read more

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MOVIE REVIEW 3.5 stars

Like sunshine in a Seattle summer, sometimes good things come if you have the patience to wait for them. I'm talking about Hollywood romantic comedies, a genre so lackluster in recent years you wonder if anyone within shouting range of a movie studio ever fell in love, or ever said anything genuinely funny. You wonder about the cynicism of pairing big-name movie stars with each other, regardless of chemistry or logic; about the movies that substitute pretty apartments for wit; about whether certain starlets and their handsome male counterparts know how to read a script. You wonder why movies nowadays find CGI so easy, and love so hard.

And then you see "Crazy, Stupid, Love." which, despite its excessive titular punctuation, is pretty much a joy from beginning to end. And you just want to say, "Now, was that so difficult? Really?"

You have, perhaps, seen the widely played trailer for "Crazy, Stupid, Love." in which Emma Stone hilariously shrieks, "Seriously? It's like you're Photoshopped!" at the sight of Ryan Gosling's abs, and Julianne Moore adorably sobs that she was so depressed that she went to see a "Twilight" movie and "it was soooo bad." Rest assured that these are not the only funny parts of the movie, though they're even funnier in context. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, from a clever screenplay by Dan Fogelman, "Crazy, Stupid, Love." juggles several intertwining plot lines, all involving characters seeking — or confused by — love.

Cal (Steve Carell) is startled in the opening scenes when his wife, Emily (Moore), confesses to an affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon) and a simmering discontent with their marriage (they've been together since high school). Drowning his sorrows at a dimly lit bar (which serves as kind of a clubhouse for many of the characters), Cal meets Jake (Gosling), a smooth operator who promptly begins training Cal as a ladies' man, starting by whipping his lackluster wardrobe into shape. ("Be better than the Gap," Jake tells Cal.) As often happens with smooth operators, though, Jake soon falls, hard, for the beguiling Hannah (Stone). Meanwhile, Cal's 13-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) has a crush on his baby-sitter (Analeigh Tipton), and Cal's one-night stand (Marisa Tomei, stealing the movie in a wildly comic performance featuring the scariest smile you'll ever see) comes back to haunt him.

With this cast, I barely need to tell you that there's enough chemistry here to fill a university lab; that everyone in the movie is utterly charming and funny and complicated; and that it's a pleasure to watch these people as they're blindsided, tortured, teased and possessed by love. Grand romantic gestures go awry, good intentions fail — and yet all these stories eventually resolve in just the way we're hoping. "Crazy, Stupid, Love." isn't a perfect movie (it drags in a few places, and its plot relies on several not-entirely-believable coincidences), but it's a tonic for those beaten down by years of bad rom-coms. Love conquers all — and so, I suspect, will this movie. Just try to resist it.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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