In every relationship I have ever had, there has always been that "one talk." No, it wasn't about marriage, kids, moving in together, or even to try some frisky new thing in the bedroom, it has always been the "You haven't seen that?! We need to watch it together." Whether that be Legally Blonde or The Notebook, a movie has come up in conversation that my girlfriend at the time was in love with that I had just never seen. Most recently, that film was Crazy, Stupid, Love. So naturally, I wait until after we break up to watch it.
What I got was a movie that was entertaining, heartwarming, lovely, funny, sad, depressing, all at the same time. I call it a Romantic Dramedy (Drama + Comedy in case you didn't get it). Also, before anyone asks, no, this movie doesn't follow the Love, Actually formula of having multiple different stories take place over a certain holiday. I know it may look like it based on the poster, but this is one man's story who just happens to spawn off a couple of other stories, but they are all linked to one central plot line. It's not like the characters go off on their own certain way and then occasionally characters will cross paths.
So our main hero of the movie is Cal played by Steve Carrell and to me, this is the kind of role he is perfect in. A funny man that can play both the bumbling lost puppy in the bar and the confident charismatic strong-willed father figure. Yes, he is funny in The Office, but to me, these roles really play into Steve Carrell's wheelhouse. We are introduced to Cal, along with his wife Emily played by Julianne Moore as she asks him for a divorce. From this stepping stone, our "stories" begin.
Emily's affair with David (Kevin Bacon), Cal's son having a crush on his babysitter who has a crush on Cal, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who is a womanizer that decides to transform Cal into a confident, suave, ladies man which gets the attention of another woman Kate (Marissa Tomei), and Hannah (Emma Stone) is the one girl that finally comes along Jacob's path that actually stumps him and his pickup methods.
All of these storylines get great laughs but they aren't simply there for amusement, each character has their own motivations and time allowing for more deeper and emotional moments. Cal's son goes through these huge gestures to try to win the affection of his babysitter, but the film doesn't simply cut away after the amusing moments, they leave the camera rolling and show us the characters emotions afterward. This not only makes us laugh at the funny parts, but it gives us a moment to sympathize with the characters allowing us to care more about them.
Cal and Jacob's relationship is easily the funniest in the movie and I would argue the most important because if this relationship had never happened, the movie would go in a totally different direction. As you watch Ryan Gosling use his good looks and his charm to win over every lady he lays eyes on in the bar, not only is it entertaining (at least from a guy's point of view) but it also a little annoying because he's just too good at the whole pickup game. Let's be honest boys if you went into a bar and we're talking to a girl and even if the girl was interested and laughing at your bad jokes if Ryan Gosling came in to introduce himself, you wouldn't stand a chance. Don't worry, neither would I.
And while this movie does deal with heartbreak and embarrassment, it does tell us that when you find your person, that's the person you have to pursue no matter what. Lately, I have been in a bit of a love-rut, but I do give props to this movie for not only being funny, charming but also optimistic and hopeful. A great movie for date night.