Crazy, Stupid, Love

[4.0 stars] Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

There are a lot of ways romantic comedies can go wrong, and Crazy, Stupid, Love avoids nearly all of them. For a PG-13 movie, it's kind of raunchy (MPAA: "coarse humor, sexual content and language") but it's also very funny. A lot of the humor is situational, but a gratifying amount springs from its six primary characters, none of whom fall into the caricature trap. (There are also strong performances from supporting characters.)

Here's the story: on a "date night", Emily (Julianne Moore) announces to her husband Cal (Steve Carell) that she (a) wants a divorce and (b) has been canoodling with co-worker David (Kevin Bacon). This immediately impacts their kids, most notably 13-year-old Robbie (Jonah Bobo). Robbie has a major crush on his sitter, 17-year-old Jessica (Analeigh Tipton); who, in turn, is smitten with Cal.

Bereft, Cal starts spending time in a bar, drinking too much, and regaling the other patrons with his misery. This proves too much for fellow patron Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who is perhaps the smoothest one-night stand artist you'll see. We only see him strike out with one woman, Hannah (Emma Stone). Jacob takes Cal under his wing; soon enough, he's filling his nights with female companionship. But he still pines for Emily. (Cal's first "success" is with Kate, who's played by Marisa Tomei; her brief scenes are probably the best part of this very good movie.)

The movie (I think successfully) walks a fine line: while showing the misery of infidelity and marital breakup, it doesn't forget to be funny. Without spoiling things, it also has a couple of Dickensian coincidences that are successfully played for laughs. Just keep your eyes open.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 8:47 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2012-01-15 Update

[phony baloney]

We bid farewell, at least for now, to Mr. Newt Gingrich. The Intraders now have dropped his probability of becoming the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee to 2.3%, well below our arbitrary 4% threshold. (Ron Paul is actually ahead of Newt, at 3.6%.)

So it's a two-man race! Well, three, if you count the probable Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, and I might as well start doing that. (Disclaimer: "Gary Johnson" is a common enough name so that the Google hit count could be distorted by other phonies named "Gary Johnson". Given that what we're doing is totally bogus anyway, we shall ignore this detail.)

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 162,000,000 -1,000,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 5,640,000 +4,862,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 1,520,000 ---

  • Ex-senator Rick Santorum had a brief day in the sun as the not-Mitt, but that seems to have passed. This has served to point out the slow response time of print journals: Santorum's on the cover of the current issue of National Review and Andrew Ferguson has an article in the Weekly Standard about him. Kind of, anyway. After Santorum's defeat in 2006, he didn't move back "home" to Pennsylvania, but instead retained his true home in the D.C. suburbs, and held down a number of lucrative positions, none of which involved doing any actual work.
    I found myself strangely touched by the stories of Santorum's recent wealth, for they certified that he wasn't a "Washington insider" in any pejorative sense, at least by my libertarian lights. He's just another Washingtonian of a particular type: the anti-Washington Washingtonian--an AWW, a contented resident of the nation's capital who has based his career on his loudly declared disdain for the nation's capital, particularly the federal Leviathan residing there. The AWW campaigns against Washington, catalogues its harmful effects, extols alternatives, and contrasts it with the "real America," which he vows to liberate forever from its depredations--while never admitting that Washington is the very thing that makes his life worth living.
    Funny and insightful, like most everything Ferguson writes. Pun Salad encourages you to Read the Whole Thing™.

  • Louis Woodhill poaches on our territory with a column titled "Why Mitt Romney Comes Off As A Bit Of A Phony". He even does a Google hit count comparison, using a different query string, every bit as bogus as ours:
    If you Google "Mitt Romney is a phony", you get 102,000 hits. If you do the same search on "Rick Perry", you get 51,800; "Ron Paul", 32,300; and "Newt Gingrich", 3,960. At the opposite end of the "authenticity" spectrum, if you Google "Herman Cain is a phony", you get 8 hits.
    Woodhill's theory is that Romney comes across as phony because he's a "brilliant, pragmatic problem solver"—and, as admirable as that is, it's not what Americans look for in a President. Instead, Romney's trying to present himself as something that Americans are (arguably) looking for: a big-picture Reaganesque optimistic visionary. But this masquerade is difficult for Romney to pull off, hence the perception of phoniness.

    Hey, maybe! But I quibble: Woodhill should have also Googled "Barack Obama is a phony": I get 2,380,000 hits, over 20 times Mitt's hits. Woodhill would have been slightly more convincing if he had a Grand Unified Google Phony Theory that explains that result.

  • At the National Journal, Ron Fournier pens an article: "New Hampshire Shows Romney Can Be Painted as a Cold-Hearted Phony". For phony aficionados, this is about as newsworthy as "New Hampshire Shows Winter Can Be Painted as a Cold and Snowy Season".

    And it's hardly new ground for Fournier. Back in 2007 he penned: "Analysis: Is Edwards real or a phony?" (That's John Edwards. With the benefit of hindsight, the answer has become even more obvious.)

    Fournier also looked at Romney's Phony Problem in October of last year: "The most serious threat [Herman] Cain poses to Romney is that his candidacy, however fragile and fleeting, underscores the power of a virtue that Romney seems to lack: Authenticity." Because nothing says "authenticity" more than sending cash to a woman without telling your wife.

    So is Fournier doing any better this time?

    The caricature isn't new or entirely fair, but the GOP presidential front-runner gave his desperate rivals fresh ammunition: Romney said he liked being able to "fire people who provide services to me;" he claimed to have once worried about being laid off; he suggested that it's best to get rich before running for president; and he seemed to stretch the truth about attack ads and about his motives for leaving the Massachusetts governor's office.
    Well, yeah. Nice try, Ron, but the typical GOP attitude seems to be: "So what? The other guys aren't any better."

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:39 PM EDT