Crazy, Stupid, Love review (Blu-ray)

One of the occasional pleasures about reviewing films is when one comes along that you have zero expectations for – and being wowed at how good it is. Crazy, Stupid, Love didn't make much of a splash upon its release in the US and I didn't read up anything about it before watching. But my, what a delicious surprise it was, and how unfair that it didn't do better business Stateside. It's a thorough delight – and you'd be foolish to miss it.

To give too much of the plot away would be invidious as the script's unpredictability keeps you on your toes and wonderfully engaged. To reveal it all would be most unchivalrous. Suffice to say that it stars Carrell and Moore as a married couple who separate after 25 years together. He pitches up at a bar and is soon befriended by womaniser Gosling, who takes him under his wing and smartens him up with a new haircut and stylish threads, teaching him how to relax and be confident on the singles scene. She, meanwhile, has been having a fling with her work colleague Bacon.

From this set-up springs an array of serio-comic romantic and relationship issues that are beautifully delivered by the first-rate cast. We get to see the couple's children, the elder boy (Bobo) being infatuated with their babysitter (Tipton) while she in turn has a crush on Carrell. Gosling falls for sharp lawyer Stone, ending his sybaritic ways. As the situations develop and the characters interplay with each other with ever increasing alarm and confusion, a roundelay of extremely funny set pieces is depicted, slowly building to a most satisfying and warmly amusing climax where all the principals get their just desserts as it were. The last 20 minutes or so never equal this comic highlight but that doesn't stop Crazy. Stupid, Love from being an absolute hoot.

The ensemble cast are splendid –no-one stands out above anyone else. They're all ideally cast and work as a team to perfection. Credit must go to co-directors Ficarra and Requa, who previously helmed I Love You Phillip Morris. Whereas that effort was too frenetic to satisfy, their new escapade is well paced and goes down like a smooth cocktail. The characters are believable and likeable, the plotting deft and assured, the dialogue smart and sassy. If you're a regular movie viewer, then check it out forthwith. I loved it. So will you.

EXTRAS ★★ Nothing too special, really: deleted scenes (12:27); the featurette Steve & Ryan Walk Into a bar (6:40); and the featurette The Player Meets His match (5:40).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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