I must begin this post by telling you that I am not trying to write a movie review necessarily. I am not going to tell you at the end whether you should see it or not or give number score. I am rather going to explore an idea that I found interesting while viewing “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
I was in FYE browsing for some used movies that I had been wanting to own. They were doing a promotion where if you purchased two, you got a third one for two dollars. Naturally, I had two movies in my hand, and so I began my search for a third. I came across “Crazy, Stupid Love” and I bought it remembering that some friends had said they liked it. Also, I will watch anything with Ryan Gosling in it because he’s the best. After watching it for the first time with several friends, one of them made a comment that started an interesting train of thought for me. He said, “what a sad ending…” Naturally, people rejected this opinion with “What do you mean? Everyone’s happy and in love at the end.” To which my friend replied, “I don’t mean that the movie’s ending itself is sad, I mean that the idea of the movie itself is sad to me.” As a critical movie-goer myself, I must say that I agree heartily.
Let us begin with the good. This movie is somewhat progressive in terms of romantic comedies (although, I haven’t watched that many to begin with). To make things clear, Steve Carell plays a man who’s wife leaves him, and in the end a lesson has been learned about the value of real love and romance in a marriage and that fighting for your marriage is a worthy pursuit. Ryan Gosling’s character learns that sleeping around and being a womanizer is not as valuable as having a real relationship built on mutual interest and connection. The movie also shows how people can have a double standard. For example, Carell’s character freaks out that Gosling is dating his daughter because he’s a “scumbag” even though just before that Carell saw Gosling’s character as a wise teacher. A paradigm shift occurs when his daughter is involved.
These things may be quality values for the secular audience, but there’s an overwhelming number of ideas in this movie that simply show the depravity of man in our views of sexuality and love. Firstly, Carell’s character Cal Weaver sleeps with his sons’s teacher, and when he gets back with his wife there is an extremely uncomfortable scene in which the teacher interacts with Cal and his wife. What I found shocking is that it seems as if the filmmakers are saying that the worst consequence of Cal’s fornication is that he has an uncomfortable interaction with a teacher. Cal’s wife finds out eventually, and because she’s also had an affair, in the end, all is forgiven. Marriage prevails in the end, but were the means necessary? I think not.
Cal also holds himself to a much lower standard than Jacob (played by Gosling). Jacob has been sleeping around, and thus, Cal is outraged that his daughter would date him, when Cal himself has also slept around, and yet, because his wife did too, then it’s ok? What a sad reality we live in when people can sleep around and think it’s ok due to their poor circumstances.
Perhaps the most troubling theme in the movie is in the interaction between Cal’s son and his babysitter. In the end of the movie, I coiled in horror when I realized that the babysitter was going to give Cal’s son her nude pictures in order to, “get him through high school,” and ultimately get him to leave her alone. The movie makes this interaction seem cute. What world are we living in when the distribution of child pornography can be deemed cute as long as it’s between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old. This is the most clear and disturbing element of this movie.
What world are we living in when the distribution of child pornography can be deemed cute as long as it’s between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old?
There is a professor at Biola University who refuses to watch any romantic comedies because he believes it will skew his views on romance and sex. He believes in the idea of cumulative narrative in which it is understood that the more we engage in stories together, the more we will collectively believe that they hold truths. I can’t stand the corrupted view on sexuality and love that Hollywood spits out in their movies over and over again, and it’s for these reasons that I normally choose not to watch romantic comedies or even just thematically romantic movies in general.
As fun as this movie was at times and as much as I love Ryan Gosling, this movie is deeply troubling, and I would not recommend it to many. However, If you are prepared to think critically, then you might actually learn something about the state of mankind and our current attitude towards sexuality and love, which might be a good insight. More than likely though, it will just make you depressed.