Chad White, Both Crazy & Stupid, Loves Himself
When I thought about writing this essay, I wanted it to only focus on Ryan Gosling and his murderer-like tendencies that were on display during this movie. Sadly, I won’t make you sit through a love letter to Mr. Gosling. I will include it as a section though. But what I want to talk about encompasses much more than the devilishly handsome Canadian. Crazy, Stupid Love is one of my favorite romantic comedies. It has just the right amount of tension throughout and decides to release it all at once. Once all the major characters are brought together, the entire dynamic of the movie changes.
But from the get go, the movie has no idea who Steve Carell is or how connected Julianne Moore and Kevin Bacon really are. It introduces information as soon as it is presented to the other characters. The audience is kept in the dark just like the characters are. That’s what is magical about Crazy, Stupid Love; it doesn’t present needless information at any point. Things happen for a reason and not for convenience to the plot. Each person is naïve in what they have come to believe. Carell has to change his character in order to get a second chance at marriage. He is also quick to give up on his marriage to Moore but it’s his son that leads him back into the right direction. And Gosling appears to be a creeper whereas he is actually an usher for Carell’s character to better himself.
From Drab To Fab
Steve Carell’s character underwent the most radical change of all the characters in the movie. Before, he was a man that was wearing a suit that was two sizes too big with New Balance shoes; now, he’s got a sense of fashion that only Marc Jacobs could rival. But this all came at a cost. He turned into a man that he eventually dreaded. Yes, it is true that he envied Gosling, but when he saw the man who was dating his daughter, he revealed all of the terrible things that he witnessed. He didn’t want his daughter to even think about being with such a man.
So why did he want to be something he would eventually hate? The short answer is Carell wanted to fulfill short term happiness. He lost the one thing he cared about most in one night (his wife). But it soon became time for him to jump back in the saddle. Enter Gosling. Watching and listening to Carell from afar, Gosling was able to provide him with the help he so desperately needed.
First came a shopping spree. The two men went to the mall where Carell was forced to pay hundreds of dollars for new clothing. New shirts, pants and shoes along with a new haircut make up the better version of Steve Carell. But was the original so bad that he had to be changed? Look at the facts. Julianne Moore cheated on her husband because she was bored. She wanted to get back with him only when she found out that she was in lust for something new, in this case, a newer version of her husband. The first time the two see each other after their separation, Moore is taken aback by how much her husband has changed. She says “Wow, you look great Cal” but her facial expression is what seals the deal.
However, Carell is going all of the avenues presented to him. He meets with a few women and ends up sleeping with nine. Nine. Before them, he’d only ever ben with his wife. That’s 25 years of being with one woman. He was a middle aged man that never tested the waters around him. But he was in love. So was it really pertinent that he sleep with nine women? No but he was separated from his wife who wanted something new. He was doing what she was doing. And after that fight during the PTA meeting, she learns the harsh truth that she was his real problem. She took his sleeping with nine other women as an insult saying “You showed me, Cal” but he wasn’t doing it to get back at her. He was just doing what was presented to him at that possible moment. Short term happiness was his goal and he achieved it nine times.
Love: Believe It Or Not
Some characters in the movie believe they are currently in love. The problem is that they can’t differentiate between love and what is convenient for them. Carell and Moore’s son, Robbie, is in love with his babysitter Jessica who is four years older than him. His parents are trying to tell him otherwise. However, no matter what obstacle is thrown in his way, Robbie always manages to stay on his path to love. In fact, he is even the catalyst to Carell fighting again for Moore to take him back. Yes Robbie is very young and there could be an argument against his actual love vs young lust for Jessica but he is the only character to not falter on his journey.
Emma Stone thinks she’s in love with Josh Groban. Let’s admit it, who wouldn’t be? He’s got the voice of an angel and oh my God that hair. Her friend Liz asks her if she really wants to get married to Groban. Stone stutters out a yes but when she is presented with an alternate offer (becoming a full time lawyer), she freaks out that she won’t get the marriage that she wants so badly. Stone is convinced that this is the point in life where she needs to settle down. Being with Groban for however long – let’s just assume it’s been a year or two – has stunted her outlook on love. From the time the movie started to the point where Stone breaks up with him, Groban has been a total asshat to her. It’s not his fault. He just wants to be super successful way before he can even entertain the thought of proposing a long term relationship with Stone.
Gosling got his first piece of love when Stone left Groban that same night for him. He, like the audience, assumed the two would go through his routine. There would be a drink back at his house, he’d work Dirty Dancing into the conversation and then the two would “bang.” And for the record, I use bang all the time. That’s probably why I’m single. The night turns into a therapy session with Stone learning more about Gosling than anyone probably ever has. That sharing of personal information; the staying up all night telling each other’s secrets is what real love is. You’ve had those nights with that special guy or girl where you could go on about nothing yet still have stuff to talk about. Those are great. Gosling knew he was in love well before that montage scene.
Ryan Gosling Is A Murderer
Finally. The part I’ve been waiting to write. When we’re introduced to Ryan Gosling, he is staring at Emma Stone from the bar. And this staring is so blatant that he comes across as some sort of creepy creeper. Every girl in the bar loves this guy but Stone is privy to his game. Gosling picks out his prey seemingly every night of the week. He’ll talk to one girl, in some cases group of girls, a night and take them back to his place. Like freaking clockwork.
Now, to a regular human being, this shit would end with that man being arrested because of the vibe he puts off. But since he’s so handsome, Gosling can get away with it. The way he treats a woman is pretty low. He’ll tell them that whatever they’re saying is boring but he wants to know more. And the girl is just like “oh sorry, I’ll do better.” I haven’t talked to a girl in a while so is this how things work now? When Carell tries to emulate such moves he comes off as a jerk.
After a few minutes of conversation, Gosling just up and says that the bar is loud or boring and proposes to the girl(s) that they should leave. It’s a suggestion, not a question. What’s so surprising is how often it works. A montage takes the audience through multiple girls with varying differentiations of Gosling’s lines. It would be interesting to see how many flops he had. Stone was a girl that said no instantly but he eventually got her. I wonder if he would’ve chased after her if she came back to the bar like her friend asked her to do.
My other question is what he does with those women after they’re finished. Do they ever return to the bar or call Gosling or are they too embarrassed? Do their friends just let them go home with some hot random dude? Exactly how much money did he get in his inheritance to where he doesn’t have to work? And how come things didn’t buy him happiness but a copious amount of sex did and how come he won’t share some of that? None of these questions will ever be answered.
What have we learned here? Changing yourself is something that can save your relationship. Sometimes, it’s okay to break from the norm in order to get an entirely different level. Love is completely subjective to the person experiencing that act of love. Or it can be objective compared to the situation. And Ryan Gosling may or may not be a serial murderer. If Crazy, Stupid Love has taught me one thing, it’s that you have to dress well, be of a certain age and look extremely handsome in order to get far in life.