Just recently our entire family has been watching all of The Office episodes on Netflix, and are totally addicted. I'm not sure I truly appreciated Steve Carrell until I saw these shows. Now I think we would watch him doing anything.
On the other hand, I do really have issues with romantic comedies. They are all just so...inane and predictable. Ugh. This movie got so many great reviews though. Entertainment Weekly was feeling some serious love towards it, and mentioned in every issue.
Then there is Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?
The premise seems a little pessimistic. Middle-aged couple Cal and Emily (Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore) are deeply entrenched in their middle-aged life, raising a couple of kids and going through the motions, when Emily announces she has had an affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon) and wants a divorce. Suddenly Cal is on the market again, but spends most of time wearing his middle-aged clothes and drinking sissy drinks at a beautiful people bar.
Plot thread #2 - Cal and Emily's 14 year old son has a forever crush on his 17 year old babysitter, who in turn has a crush on Cal.
Plot thread #3 - Hannah (Emma Stone) has just gotten her law degree and suspects her boyfriend may have serious intentions with regards to their relationship. But then again maybe not. She is gorgeous and restless.
Plot thread #4 - Jacob (Ryan Gosling) is a pick-up artist that hangs out at Cal's bar, taking home a different girl every night. One night he notices Cal and decides to "help" him by giving him an image makeover.
Pretty soon, all these entertaining and sadly familiar plot threads all intertwine. In surprising and hilarious ways. For all the talk about this movie, I was impressed that nobody had actually spilled any of the beans about the twists. Watching it all roll out was lots of fun.
Probably my favorite quote of the movie was when Hannah asks Jacob to take off his shirt (and thus we get that lovely picture above). There is a pause. Then Hannah shouts "F**K! Seriously? It's like you're Photoshopped!". Indeed, Hannah.
There was lots to love about this movie, beyond Ryan Gosling's six pack. The melancholy of finding yourself single at middle age was sweet and hilarious in the hands of Carrell. It was easy to imagine any number of our friends looking and feeling just like him. The games played by those in the bar scene. The earnestness of a 14 year-old crush. The game-changing epiphany of finding, or re-discovering, true love.
This movie is rated PG-13, but I thought it was right on the edge. There is the one allowed F-bomb, and lots of sexual innuendo and themes (one-night stands, ripping off clothes in a frenzy, adultery, taking nude pictures of yourself, etc.). Just a head's up for the kids on the 13 year-old end of the spectrum.
This one isn't an award-winner by any stretch of the imagination, but is enjoyable and better than most rom-coms.