I watched this movie for the second time on the plane back from the Philippines. Such a great, great movie. And while I'm not a big fan of star-studded films, this one had the stars I tend to enjoy watching, specifically Emma Stone and Steve Carell.
Emma Stone captured my heart in Easy A. If you haven't seen that movie yet, I highly recommend grabbing it ASAP. And then Steve Carell...need I say more? OK, I will. He is just one masterful actor. And this role, he is much more deep and less comedic in any other role he's played. But for the record, I absolutely loved him in Bruce Almighty, before he ever became the Steve Carell we adore today.
Of course, in this movie, it doesn't hurt to have Ryan Gosling. 2011 was definitely the year of Gosling since I watched The Notebook (that one's old), Blue Valentine, and Drunk History Christmas. This doesn't include all the other movies that came out with him in it last year, like Drive and The Ides of March (which, unfortunately, has George Clooney...but I'll watch it anyway).
The clip that was shown on the trailers is what starts this movie off. It's misleading as this clip resembles Carell's comedic movie roles. I couldn't find just the clip, nor anything to embed with 'just the clip' so here's a link to a 30 second TV ad in which the clip is in the beginning.
After that, however, it becomes a more serious albeit still comedic but definitely in a more subtle way. Cal Weaver (Carell) has just been 'dumped' by his wife Emily (Julianne Moore). He drags himself into a bar and just sits on his pity-pot, whining and complaining about his woes.
Jacob Palmer (Gosling) confronts him, then decides to take him on as his 'apprentice': to teach Cal the ways of a womanizer. And yes, it's disrespectful and misogynistic. But fortunately, it works. I didn't really end up hating Jacob Palmer - he's too slick, too confident; he has that swagger. And while Cal starts out looking like a bumbling fool, he eventually becomes a man worth a double-take.
It was nice to see a change in the ugly-duckling-transforms-into-a-swan with a man. And of course, the other cool part for women, or maybe me: the womanizer who gets thrown by ONE woman and gives up his life of playboy-hood for 'the one'. That's what every girl dreams about, right?
There's a love story in every aspect of this movie: Cal loving Emily, Emily loving Cal, co-worker loving Emily, Emily and Cal's son, Robbie (a show-stealer), in love with his babysitter, the babysitter in love with Cal, and then Jacob loving Hannah (Emma Stone). There's a surprise twist in all of this that could have made it too Hollywood for me but it didn't. It's just a sweet, adorable, well-made movie that I highly recommend.
Along with Easy A (Emma Stone), Bruce Almighty (Steve Carell), Drunk History Christmas (Ryan Gosling; Blue Valentine is another I'd recommend but it's *really* a "blue" movie so not for the mainstream), The Kids Are All Right (Julianne Moore), The Wrestler (Marisa Tomei) and She's Having a Baby (Kevin Bacon).