Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore
Yes! A shirtless Ryan Gosling
No! Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon are underused
After Cal Weaver’s (Carell) wife Emily (Moore) leaves him, he seeks Jacob’s (Gosling) help to become better at attracting women. While transforming Cal, Jacob, the perpetual playboy, finds himself falling for quirky Hannah (Stone).
As far as romcoms go, I enjoyed this one. Maybe I’m biased because I like all the actors, but I had fun. It’s not as saccharine and goofy as many romantic comedies, and it shows love in three stages of the average person’s life: the adolescent first love, the young adult first real love, and the middle aged complacent love.
It is, essentially, three love stories intertwined with one another, creating the kind of coincidence storm that is only ever found in movies like this. Without fate’s fickle fingers, many a romcom would be out of luck.
All the actors play roles typical to them. Except Gosling, who has been playing pensive indie characters lately, so it’s odd (but refreshing) to see him dial up the charm and show off his abs.
Steve Carrell plays his usual schlub, adding humour where he can. The throwaway dialogue and banter is, like most comedies these days, the source of most of the film’s humour.
Emma Stone plays her usual delightful self, the awkward but adorable girl-next-door, and Julianne Moore plays a frustrated wife. None of the characters have an extraordinary amount of depth, but hey. What were you expecting?
Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon are great in their roles, too big to be a cameo, too small to do them justice. One surprisingly great performance was Josh Groban (okay, that was small enough to be a cameo), as a cheerful and oblivious boyfriend.
If you enjoy romantic comedies, but are sick of the kind where the male and female leads are back-to-back on the poster, check this one out.