Ensemble casts have, of late, relied heavily on their star power rather than their plot or dialogue to get them by. The likes of Valentine's Day and He's Just Not That Into You left a lot to be desired regarding satisfaction.
With a back catalogue consisting only of the great-but-little-seen I Love You Philip Morris, you wouldn't be amiss at the pedigree of directors Requa and Ficarra to bring in a decent rom-com. But they have an ace up their sleeve in writer Fogelman who penned Tangled and Bolt amongst others.
Here then is a comedy that is romantic by the bucket load whilst also being a romance that has great comedy throughout. Literally, you can have the roller coaster experience that is so often quoted but rarely delivered in cinematic terms. Sadness, awkwardness, laughter, cringyness, hopefulness, elation... all get their chance to toy with your emotions.
These are deftly handled by the cast that play to their strengths. Carrell, who has tried the stuck-in-a-rut husband before in Date Night, makes a more believable appearance here with the aid of more individuals to play off against. Here he gets to bounce off of Moore who, as always, shines in her role as mid-life crisis Mom - "When I told you when I had to work late? I really to go see the new Twilight movie by myself, and it was so bad" - and Tomei, who plays his first encounter after the split that starts the events rolling - if you don't want her as either your teacher or your lover, then there's something drastically wrong with you my friend.
The delights also come from the younger cast, in particular Stone with her confidence-waning rambling speech aimed at Gosling's lothario after her rash certainty for "banging the bar guy" dissolves into fear and thinking things through in the cold light of day. Along with the wonderful Heartbreaker, this boasts the best Dirty Dancing nod ever committed to celluloid confirming to any guy worth his salt that he needs to study Swayze to succeed!
The film happily makes it's way along the tried-and-trusted course of "re-discovering yourself and what you want out of life" storyline until the final act where all the loose strands and separate sub plots are suddenly pulled together to make one of the funniest scenes in the last decade of films. All soap opera's should take note of how it should be done!
A beautiful look at love and all it's various stages - first love, unrequited love, false love, stale love, soulmate love - Crazy, Stupid, Love in the end doesn't challenge any taboos nor does it deliver any earth-shattering conclusion but what it does is make you smile, make you laugh, make you cry and make you feel... and after all, isn't that what love is supposed to do? Beautiful from start to finish.
UK release date: 23.09.11