SEE ABSORB LOVE. The film is a triumph of chaos and delight-- I had NO idea where this was headed --which I love!!! It begins with a perfectly calibrated scene in a restaurant between Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, their characters married for 20 plus years-- when he orders creme brulee and she orders a divorce. This is not a spoiler. It's the first scene. Then there are characters coming and going, different story lines developing, no obvious overlap except the pratfalls of love stopped and started, and we're on a convoluted ride. I started to think the writer was nuts. Then I realized there was a method to his madness, and I was definitely along for the ride.
Suddenly I start thinking of Shakespeare. Mismatched lovers, chasing each other around and around, and as I'm having this thought Steve Carell starts shouting the word "cuckold,"aloud, over and over at a bar. I think I'm on to something. Ryan Gosling enters the picture, immediately making every scene he's in more interesting by virtue of his truly distinctive line readings and his extraordinarily sexual presence. He takes Carell under his wing--if not just to shut him up but also to help him out as a member of the species. He turns him into a version of himself- a ladies man for the ages, who has bedded and not wedded hundreds of all too willing modern females, because he knows exactly what deeply wired buttons to push. And it's wonderfully cast-- Marisa Tomei? Hilarious. Emma Stone? Smart, screwy, endearing. Kevin Bacon? Just right-- as always.
At a certain point all the nuttiness coalesces and bubbles over into one climactic, enlightening, and explosively entertaining scene. No kidding. I was screaming laughing. The writer Dan Fogelman has made good on the promise of the title, has a good grasp of these characters and what makes them believably tick, and an appreciation for emotional complexity. The result is a magical comedy that redeems all of these mixed up characters, their intentions, their foibles, their vulnerabilities, and leaves us wondering upon a star about CRAZY STUPID LOVE and where can we get some more.
DON'T MISS THIS!!