Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quirky Romantic Comedies

I'm not a fan of romantic comedies, so the ones that I end up watching have to promise a little something extra than the usual rom-com.  I was hoping Crazy, Stupid Love and I Love You Phillip Morris would fit that but both movies have their issues.      

Crazy, Stupid Love

I was really hoping to like this one because it received such positive buzz and it seemed like it could be one of those comedies that were genuinely funny and touching at the same time like Bridesmaids, my favorite movie last summer, and Forty-Year Old Virgin.  Crazy, Stupid, Love has some funny moments in it, but in the end, it really tried too hard to be touching and meaningful and that unfortunately, really weakened the movie and made it more generic and romantic comendy-esque than a fun comedy.  It really was at its best when the movie put the characters in really ridiculous but believable (in the realm of their world) situations.    

Crazy, Stupid, Love centers around Cal (Steve Carrell) and Emily (Julianne Moore), a couple who've been together forever, who suddenly break up when Emily decides she wants a divorce.  Cal mopes around and starts hanging out at a hip bar where he meets the ultimate ladies' man, Jacob (Ryan Gosling).  Meanwhile, there's a very awkward love triangle between Cal's thirteen year old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), the baby sitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), and Cal (who does not realize that Jessica has a crush on him).  There's also Hannah (Emma Stone), on the side, the one girl who wasn't charmed by Jacob's charm.

The first half of the movie is great.  The best laughs come from the most unexpected scenes.  E.g. Cal sneaks back to his old house periodically to maintain the yard.  Gosling is especially really great in this- he's featured in possibly the hottest pizza eating scene ever, and I really wish they'd just gone with the comedic aspect of the movie more.  I'd read reviews that the kids' stories would be somewhat featured too and wasn't really looking forward to it, but they handled it well.  Robbie (Bobo) comes off as creepy yet sympathetic.  And Tipton as Jessica does a fantastic job.  

Somewhere in the middle though, when too many coincidences arise and when it tries to fit everything into a neat little package, the movie really starts trudging along until it, alas, falls into generic rom-com land, where everyone's happy(ish) but it feels synthetic and overly sweet.  I'd save this one for Netflix or Amazon instant streaming.      

I Love You Phillip Morris

I was intrigued by this movie when I saw the trailer.  It looked like a fun movie and had an interesting premise.  I've also wanted to see Jim Carrey do more than be the over the top funny guy in a generic summer comedy.  I was really impressed by his performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I Love You Phillip Morris has a good performance from Carrey- he's over the top but his character is supposed to be this flamboyant liar who is great at breaking out of prison.  I was hoping for something more from this movie but the pacing was odd and it seemed like it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a drama or a comedy.

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