In the summer of 2011, Steve Carell was just coming off playing Michael Scott for seven seasons on The Office, and already had a strong string of films that included Date Night, Little Miss Sunshine, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. For his first post-Office film, Carell joined an impressive ensemble for Crazy, Stupid, Love, a film that would end up being one of Carell’s highest-grossing live-action films. On March 1st, audiences can revisit Crazy, Stupid, Love when the film hits Netflix.
Crazy, Stupid, Love tells a series of stories that initially seem unrelated, yet the film ties all of them together in a surprising and satisfying way. Steve Carell plays Cal Weaver, whose wife Emily (Julianne Moore) admits she had an affair with her co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Cal moves out and starts going to bars where he loudly laments the problems with his marriage. Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a womanizer who is able to pick up a new woman every night, decides to take Cal under his wing and try to teach him his ways.
But soon after, Jacob finds a woman he can’t easily win over in Hannah (Emma Stone). While Jacob can teach Steve Carell’s Cal everything he knows, none of his tried-and-true tactics seem to work for Hannah. In another story, Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with his neighbor Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), yet Robbie doesn’t know that Jessica is harboring a crush on Cal.
In addition to stars like Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianna Moore, Emma Stone, and others, Crazy, Stupid, Love also features Marisa Tomei, Fargo’s John Carroll Lynch, Josh Groban, and Joey King. Crazy, Stupid, Love was directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who had previously directed Jim Carrey’s 2009 film, Love You Phillip Morris, and have since directed the Margot Robbie and Will Smith-starring 2015 film Focus, and Tina Fey’s 2016 film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. This duo has also written Disney’s upcoming Jungle Cruise film, and are currently attached to write, direct, and produce a new Harley Quinn and Joker film.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is also the first film produced by Steve Carell’s Carousel Productions, who would go on to produce The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Rashida Jones’ Angie Tribeca TBS series. Crazy, Stupid, Love was also written by Dan Fogelman, who has previously written for Disney and Pixar films like Cars, Bolt, and Tangled. Fogelman is probably best known for having created the hit NBC series, This Is Us, which follows a very similar interconnected narrative structure to Crazy, Stupid, Love in its pilot episode. Fogelman is also the writer for the upcoming Indiana Jones 5.
Crazy, Stupid, Love was well-received, both critically and commercially. Despite opening in fifth place on its opening weekend, Crazy, Stupid, Love went on to make $84 million domestically, and over $145 million worldwide. The film currently holds a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer and a 78% audience score. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called the film the 8th best film of 2011, while Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle said it was the 10th best film of the year. Ryan Gosling even received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Since Crazy, Stupid, Love, Steve Carell has remained one of the most sought-after comedic actors in film. But not long after Crazy, Stupid, Love, Carell would expand his talents into more dramatic work. In 2015, Carell would receive his only Academy Award nomination so far for his role in Foxcatcher. Carell has since continued with more dramatic turns in films like 2015’s The Big Short, 2017’s Last Flag Flying, and 2018’s Beautiful Boy.
But Steve Carell has continued to also thrive in comedy, with some of his biggest films being the animated Despicable Me series, with both Despicable Me 3 and Minions both making over a billion dollars worldwide. Most recently, Steve Carell starred in Jon Stewart’s recent directorial effort with last year’s Irresistible, and recently Carell appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Vice from his Anchorman director Adam McKay, and starred in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen.
In the transition from television star to film star, Crazy, Stupid, Love was a great way for Steve Carell to prove that he could still be funny, but that he had a dramatic side to him that was waiting to come out. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a lovely ensemble comedy that gives Carell one of his best performances. Crazy, Stupid, Love is absolutely worth checking out when it makes its Netflix debut on March 1st.