Ryan Gosling made a name for himself as the leading man in romantic dramas, from The Notebook to La La Land, but his recent turn as Ken in Barbie reminded everyone that he’s also a very funny comedic performer. Back in 2011, Gosling made that clear with his performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love, as the womanizing Jacob who takes Steve Carell’s distraught Cal under his wing. If you want to remember when Hollywood actually made romantic comedies, the film is available to stream right now on Max.
Crazy, Stupid, Love can be streamed on Max.
The premise for Crazy, Stupid, Love is delightfully simple and disturbingly relatable for anyone who’s been divorced after a long marriage. That’s the situation Carell’s Cal finds himself in when his wife, Emily (played by Julianna Moore), files for divorce, starting a shame spiral that sends him to a bar frequented by Gosling’s Jacob. Taking pity on Cal, Jacob teaches him the art of seduction, which surprisingly works after a series of cringe-worthy failures and results in a one-night stand with Kate (everyone’s favorite Aunt May, Marisa Tomei).
While Cal finds success by embracing his new status as single and ready to mingle, Crazy, Stupid, Love throws the first of many curveballs when Jacob finds himself smitten by Hannah (Gosling’s La La Land co-star, Emma Stone). Naturally, Hannah refuses Jacob’s advances, and of course, that only makes him fall madly in love with her. It’s a Hollywood cliche, but sometimes it works, and it lands this time.
Hannah, a recent law school graduate, ends up going home with Jacob eventually, but of course, there’s a twist, the first of many. Crazy, Stupid, Love must take place in the smallest city in the world, as the second of the curveballs soon arrives when Cal and Emily reunite for a parent-teacher conference and discover that Cal has a connection with their son’s teacher.
Crazy, Stupid, Love was an immediate hit upon release, earning $145 million worldwide and blowing past the $50 million budget.
While the two older men are finding themselves through their love lives, Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobbo, you may remember him from Zathura) is trying to win over his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (performed by former America’s Next Top Model finalist Lio Tipton). This situation soon spirals out of control, as all three storylines intersect in surprising fashion. Crazy, Stupid, Love may be a comedy that plays the misadventures of dating for laughs, but as with the best in the genre, it turns heartfelt with a feel-good ending that still doesn’t mean it forgets how to be funny.
The stacked cast in Crazy, Stupid, Love is filled with familiar faces even as side characters, including Kevin Bacon, Josh Groban, Joey King, John Caroll Lynch, and Dan Butler. From the beginning, Steve Carell was part of the project; Dan Fogelman, the writer for the film, always intended Carell to play Cal. As proof the movie was always going to be a hit, Fogelman’s credits include Cars, Tangled, The Neighbors, This Is Us, and Only Murders in the Building.
Crazy, Stupid, Love was an immediate hit upon release, earning $145 million worldwide and blowing past the $50 million budget. Considered to be surprisingly sweet by critics, the Rotten Tomatoes score is great for a rom-com, sitting at 79 percent fresh among critics and a 78 percent audience score.
The cast, especially Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, were nominated for multiple awards, with the frequent screen partners receiving multiple MTV Video Awards and Teen Choice Award nominations. Crazy, Stupid, Love was up for Best Comedy from multiple groups, though it failed to win every time.
These days, Hollywood has given up on the rom-com, and it feels like Crazy, Stupid, Love was one of the last of the dying genre when it was released in 2011.
Crazy, Stupid, Love was the first time Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone worked together, but it was soon followed by Gangster Squad in 2013, and then, of course, the award-winning La La Land in 2016, as the pair ran the gamut from rom-com to period action movie and then a musical drama. Gosling must have liked the cast of the film, because he even went on to star with Carell again in The Big Short, which also brought back Marisa Tomei to join the pair. The next time you’re playing “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” remember this film since it’s a cheat code.
These days, Hollywood has given up on the rom-com, and it feels like Crazy, Stupid, Love was one of the last of the dying genre when it was released in 2011. Jennifer Laurence’s No Hard Feelings is the closest we’ve had in years to a return to form for what was once the largest genre in the world, but even that was met with a collective shrug by the viewing audience.
Go back in time with Crazy, Stupid, Love on Max and enjoy one of the best, yet often overlooked, romantic comedies of all time.