‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’: One of modern cinema’s greatest rom-coms
(Credits: Warner Bros.)


'Crazy, Stupid, Love': One of modern cinema's greatest rom-coms

Romantic comedies are often dismissed as a lesser form of cinema, as though something primarily aimed at a female audience is automatically less worthy of merit or cinematic praise. Men often refer to rom-coms as guilty pleasures, too ashamed to admit that they actually really enjoyed watching Hugh Grant embark on a relationship with a world-famous actor (Notting Hill) or Heath Ledger declare his love through a performance of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ (10 Things I Hate About You). 

Like every genre, romantic comedies sometimes have flaws, but they are also great fun. Offering an idealistic view of love that we can’t help but get wrapped up in while also providing comic relief as we watch characters go above and beyond for the object of their desire, rom-coms have always been a staple in the cinematic landscape. The rom-coms’ golden years were arguably the ‘90s and early 2000s, a time when many ‘chick flicks’ emerged to huge success, becoming classics of the beloved genre. 

The 2010s were more of a mixed bag, welcoming a decline in quality rom-coms—an era it feels as though we’re firmly in now. However, for a few years, the rom-com was still thriving, with movies like About Time and La La Land gaining immense popularity—they just looked slightly different from the rom-coms from several years before, which were typically much more camp and farfetched. 

A post-2010s rom-com that people often overlook, however, is Crazy, Stupid, Love, released in 2011. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the movie was a box-office success, earning $145million. Yet these days, those who haven’t seen it tend to believe that it’s just a below-average landfill rom-com, one that emerged as the genre was starting to become less original, no longer boasting iconic characters or quotable lines. 

The film is actually one of the era’s greatest rom-coms – a hilarious and interweaving tale of love, heartbreak and family, using several generations of actors to tell one connected tale of romance. We follow Steve Carell’s Cal as his wife, Julianne Moore’s Emily, asks for a divorce due to her infidelity. As a result of his newfound single status, something he hasn’t experienced since he was a teenager, Cal begins frequenting bars, where he meets Ryan Gosling’s Lothario character, Jacob.

The younger man teaches Cal how to be more attractive to women, and he subsequently becomes very successful. Meanwhile, a plotline unravels around Jacob and a young woman named Hannah, as well as Cal and Emily’s teenage son, Robbie, who becomes infatuated with Cal’s best friend’s daughter, who, in turn, has a crush on Cal. 

There are many plot twists and shocking scenes, with the characters often doing incredibly outlandish or stupid things in the name of romance. The film suggests that humans will often go to extreme lengths for love, which can manifest in different ways, such as obsession and insane displays of affection. We’re also encouraged to consider what we believe to be forgivable behaviour, such as when Emily is outraged after discovering that Cal has slept with several people following their split – despite the fact she cheated on him in the first place.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is available to stream on Netflix now.