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"Crazy, Stupid, Love" is Sweet, Funny, Stuff

A stellar cast endears and entertains.

Summer at the movies can be a little explosion-heavy. And that’s all well and good -- I did enjoy “” and “” -- but at a point I began to crave something more.

My husband rolls his eyes at this craving and drops the derogatory term for love-centric films that he knows irritates me. Fact: action films are JUST as predictable and contrived as so-called “chick flicks.”

So, there.

Lucky for me, he loves Steve Carell, so “Crazy, Stupid, Love” wasn’t that hard of a sell. And even more lucky for me, it actually was a good movie.

Carell plays Cal Weaver, the archetypal 40-something-husband whose biggest crime is complacency, as proven by his beat-up New Balance sneakers and old-man haircut. When his wife, the gorgeous Julianne Moore, serves him a divorce request on date-night dinner, Cal shuts down and moves out.

The conundrum -- to stay and try vs. give up and get out -- is not a new one, and if that’s all the film was about, I doubt it’d hold much interest. Where “Crazy, Stupid, Love” gaines momentum is through its tributaries, which spring off of the main storyline cleanly and effectively.

Cal’s son, Robbie, played with a confident sweetness by Jonah Bobo, has a thing for his 17-year-old babysitter, who has a thing for his Dad, who ends up in bed with Marissa Tomei who is actually... well, I won’t spoil it for you.

The point in these interweaving plots may be a little dose of unrealistic movie magic, but they’re charming enough that most people won’t mind the blatant manipulation.

And speaking of manipulation... enter the man with the abs: Ryan Gosling.

Gosling, who portrays Jacob, is the smooth-talking, shiny-shoe wearing womanizer who ends up picking Cal up at a bar after tiring of hearing him whine and moan of his wife’s infidelity to anyone who will listen and especially to those who won’t. Why would a soulless man-whore such as Gosling care to makeover a schlub like Cal? He wouldn’t. Not in real life. But this isn’t real life, and that’s why it’s so darn fun.

The rapport between the two actors is genuine and enjoyable and great fodder for the obligatory montages that follow. Throw in endearing performances by Emma Stone and -- here’s a surprise -- Josh Groban, and you have a perfectly sweet and heartfelt movie that will entertain you on date night and maybe give you a little message to hold on to when your own fight or flight moment arrives.

But you don’t have to mention that ooey-gooey stuff to your husband. Just go with the Steve Carell thing. That should do it.

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" is playing at during the following times:

  • 11:20 a.m., 2:10 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:50 p.m.

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