‘Crazy Stupid Love’ vs. ‘The King’s Speech’

         
 

12 August 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

I was at a friend’s house the other day and she said her playwright friend hated “Crazy Stupid Love” and then asked, “Didn’t you tell me that you hated it, too?” Hardly. A great feel-good Hollywood movie done right is euphoric when it rarely comes around.

“Your playwright friend to me sounds like the kind of person that goes to the movies to egregiously find something wrong or something to disagree with. As long as you have had a normal love life and enjoyed what the opposite sex has to say, I don’t see how you could possibly not find something that resonates with you during ‘Crazy Stupid Love.’”

She became quiet, so I kept the conversation going without making another snarky remark about her playwright friend. Except I did say that I don’t think I could ever be friends with her playwright pal. Oh, and I couldn’t help it. “I’d like to go to one of his plays, find one thing that deviates from real life identification, and slam the rest of his work. I’m kidding.” Actually, I wasn’t really. I’d really love to make such a slam.

“In your rankings how do you place ‘Crazy Stupid Love?’” she asked. My reply was easy.

“It is more than obvious to me that “Crazy Stupid Love” is the best mainstream movie of the year. It’s certainly better than ‘The King’s Speech.’ Give me enough time and I’ll make it easy for you to see just that.’” My case is simple.

It might take a lot more sophistication to see the greatness in something like “Crazy Stupid Love” than it does to see the qualities in something like “The King’s Speech.” Our last Oscar winner screamed high-brow, intelligent substance, historical value. No matter to the Oscar voters that Colin Firth injected insight into King George VI that the script and director hadn’t etched in, and no matter that it was a soft-pedaled history lesson with an epilogue in place of a dramatized spread on what happened to country, that it was an incomplete movie that ends before any assault on England in World War II takes place.

What would “The King’s Speech” been like had it not been played by Firth? Yes, I want to really repeat that he added insight into King George VI that most other actors would have missed. Tom Hanks would have made him too cuddly. Kevin Spacey would have overplayed his patronizing attributes. Warren Beatty would have made him too much of a bullhead. What made Firth great was that his stuttering was second to his supercilious performance – he fronted a façade of arrogance to overshadow his insecurity. Others who were really close to him knew him well enough to see that his arrogance was transparent. The screenplay and direction just wanted to look at the King as a stutterer. We should have all the thanks in the world for Firth for adding those dimensions that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Before anything earth-shattering takes place we get a title card before the end credits.

“Crazy Stupid Love” made me smile and reminded me a lot of my own highs and lows in my own life. It made me euphoric. Let me take a blunt approach. If you don’t see the greatness in “Crazy Stupid Love” than sadly you must be out of touch with social scenes, family togetherness, parenting, and other straits to mental health. How about this movie’s relevance on the embarrassment of how we lose ability to love effectively? Or how we lose ability to be cool and with it, or how we lose the ability to engage in sexy talk or flattering desirables of the opposite sex? Everyday issues that if we conquer it leads to happiness and self-actualization.

The master of schmo-ness, it only made perfect align-the-stars-in-the-galaxy sense that Steve Carell would play a divorcee on the heels of a midlife crisis in “Crazy Stupid Love.” Actually, he got to play someone like that in “Dan in Real Life” (2007), another good film. But Carell’s character is getting to that breaking point where he is reaching his last years before the wrinkles and grey hair takes a stain. Part of what makes Carell funny though is the bland and rigid fashion sense to counter his own naïve good-nature. He’s a boy scout with a case of the giggles, a boy with a mother fixation placarded on the face of every woman he meets.

Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen are one thing, but Carell needed a co-star like Ryan Gosling (“The Notebook”) to teach him how to reshape his milk duds persona. Gosling doesn’t shift around with flappy feet when he talks to women, he stands his ground. That’s because he is authentic. He sees the humor in every woman, and gets down to the heart of the matter when the line is open. You know – or you learn from this movie – that every woman has her arousal button that once pushed, all she needs is to hear from the guy what needs to be said. Let’s hop in the sack, shall we?

Yet if you haven’t seen it, “Crazy Stupid Love” is more than just a monochord story. It is a tapestry of several characters with several struggling romantic woes – the chasms of grief! But isn’t that always the thing that drives us by force every day? Every performance is memorable: Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Jonah Bobo, John Carroll Lynch, Analeigh Tipton. That’s because every performance is about something specifically idiosyncratic.

I will risk further to say that any critic in America that gives “Crazy Stupid Love” a negative review is an idiot. (And so is any playwright who looks at things and objects first before people.) Any critic who gave “The King’s Speech” four stars and this only three is a phony. But as a new judgment line, you should scan around publications and online sites across the country to see who gave “Crazy Stupid Love” a negative review and tally up which ones you should never listen to ever again. Make it your wake-up call.

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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