It is never made clear just why Emily (Julianne Moore) no longer wants to be married to Cal (Steve Carell) in Crazy Stupid Love (2011), but that is the point at which the movie’s plot takes off. Early on, a splendid scene crops up in which Cal drives a 17-year-old girl home and all the while–knowing of Cal’s upcoming divorce, aware of current disaster–the girl nervously and silently longs to tell the man she adores him. Later, another well-done scene has a schoolteacher played by Marisa Tomei furiously rail at Cal at a parent-teacher conference for Cal’s romantic mistreatment of her, and this she does in front of Emily! Such footage is certainly to the credit of this contemporary screwball comedy directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
Unfortunately, the film is only sometimes funny. But its narrative is fun and curious and twisty. (And preposterous.) The pacing is as good as the editing, and the picture’s look is pleasingly unadorned.
This is the first time I’ve seen Emma Stone, who, although she is talented, mildly overacts in a long sequence with Ryan Gosling. Tomei does better with the schoolteacher; it’s a comparatively small role and she works memorably hard to create a character here.