Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, Crystal Reed, Kevin Bacon, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton, Josh Groban, Liza Lapira, Joey King
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: PG (Some Sexual References)
Official Website:

Opening Day: 1 September 2011

Synopsis: At fortysomething, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream-good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his "perfect" life quickly unravels. Worse, in today's single world, Cal, who hasn't dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protege to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal's eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style that can't be found at Supercuts or The Gap. Cal and Emily aren't the only ones looking for love in what might be all the wrong places: Cal's 13-year-old son, Robbie, is crazy about his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica, who harbors a crush on Cal. And despite Cal's makeover and his many new conquests, the one thing that can't be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading him back to where he began.

Movie Review:

Sigh, things would have been so, so different if this reviewer had met someone like Jacob Palmer the last time he visited a bar. You see, Jacob is a dude who manages to charm women with the slightest effort, so much so that the somehow manages to bed different women on different nights. Not that this reviewer wants to be a promiscuous creep, but things would be so, so different if Jacob had taught him how to pick up women, like how he dished advice to Cal. 

Ah, Cal. Cal is a middle aged man who just learnt that his wife had slept with her colleague. She asks him for a divorce and his world comes crashing down. His once perfect life becomes a mess until he meets Jacob in a bar. Taking pity on the down and out Cal, the Casanova agrees to teach him how to pick up women. Somewhere in this is a pretty law student, a horny teacher, a lovelorn boy and a, well, without giving too much away, creative babysitter.

As the title suggests, this movie directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (screenwriters who went on to direct their self penned I Love You Phillip Morris in 2009) has the intention of showing its audience how crazy and stupid love can get. Or at least, how crazy and stupid people can get in the name of love.

Looking at the movie’s leading man, one would expect a gross out comedy with toilet gags and fart jokes (sorry, Steve Carell, but your character in The 40 Year Old Virgin will never be etched out of our minds), but the comedy drama turns out to be a pleasantly sweet take on love which will have you smiling at the end.

Carell plays the middle aged man who is faced with the biggest crisis ever – life. He manages to give a nuanced and affecting performance, nicely complementing his on screen wife Julianne Moore’s (The Kids Are Alright) ever perfect portrayal of a career woman. Then there is Ryan Gosling (All Good Things), who takes on the role of the playboy. Watch out for his amazing six pack abs (how long did the dude train to get a hot bod like that?) and an amusing, err, bed scene with his co star Emma Stone (Easy A) which is one of the charmingly lovable romantic sequences we’ve seen. The wonderful cast also includes Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Kevin Bacon (X Men: First Class) and a certain crooner we know as Josh Groban.

Written by Dan Folgelman (Tangled), this 118 minute movie may feel a little stretched at times, but thanks to its agreeable cast and a down to earth story, its viewers will gladly sit through the romantic comedy without complaining. The characters’ interactions with each other (they all come together in the movie’s finale) are extremely likeable, despite the filmmakers’ deliberate attempt to string them together.

When the end credits roll, one can feel the exuberance of love and walk out of the theaters hopeful and buoyant. The fairly smart movie is one of the better Hollywood romantic comedies we have seen and is definitely a good choice for a movie night date.

Movie Rating:

(Surprisingly sweet and pleasant, this romantic comedy is a sensible date movie choice)

Review by John Li


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