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Jackie K. Cooper

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Too Many Sideplots Mar Crazy, Stupid, Love

Posted: 08/03/11 04:04 PM ET

Crazy, Stupid, Love is the kind of romantic comedy that should draw large crowds to the box office. It has two great leads in Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. It has something for the younger set with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It even has a rising star for the younger teen set in Jonah Bobo. In addition it has a clever and funny storyline about finding your soul mate. So what's not to like? Well, nothing - except it may just have too much of a good thing.

In the movie we have the story of Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore). They are a couple who have been married for twenty-five years. Then we have the story of Emily and David (Kevin Bacon), the co-worker with whom she had an affair. Then there is the story of Cal and Jacob (Gosling), a younger man who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to dress and how to socialize in order to score with women.

Then we have the story of Cal and Kate (Marisa Tomei) one of the women he learns how to pick up. Then there is the story of Robbie (Bobo), who is Cal and Emily's thirteen year old son, who has a crush on his babysitter Jessica (Annaleigh Tipton). Jessica doesn't return Robbie;'s crush but instead has a crush on Cal. We get that story too. And we haven't even touched on the romance between Jacob and a girl named Hannah (Stone).

There are just too many plots going on here to give any one of them your full attention. You need to concentrate on Cal and Emily's relationship but all these other stories just keep getting in the way, over and over again.

Carell is perfect for the role of the sad sack husband who doesn't understand why his wife cheated on him. He can appeal to you with his likeable personality and gain your pity with his hound dog eyes. He can also make you feel his discomfort when he is all dressed up in his new clothes and with his new expensive hair styling.

Moore's character is never as clearly defined as Carell's. She gives us a little insight into Emily's persona but not a lot, but that is the way the script is written. Emily is not intended to be the focal point of the story - Cal is.

Gosling is okay as Jacob but every time he is on screen with Stone she draws all the attention away from him. Stone has an infectious attitude in the film that is perfectly charming form beginning to end. Bobo almost steals the show as the love sick Robbie, but the crush Jessica has on Cal is just a sick form of love.

The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual situations.

Crazy, Stupid, Love had the potential to be a great movie, but the overabundance of subplots rendered it to the category of only being a good movie.