Directed by: Glen Ficarra and John Requa
Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a middle aged man with a fondness for ugly jeans, gets the shock of his life when he hears that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) is leaving him and that she slept with a co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Devastated, he moves out to his own apartment. Soon he is going to a bar every night, where he complains loudly to his sad life.
That is where he meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Good looking, womanizing and charming, Jacob decides to take Cal under his wing and save him from eternal loneliness. Soon, Cal becomes well dressed, well-spoken and charming as well. His wife is shocked with his sudden change, and she has already started to doubt her decision to leave him. Cal and Emily see each other at a parent-teacher conference and things go great until he realises that his son’s teacher is Kate (Marisa Tomei), the first woman he seduced in the bar. Kate does not take rejection well and starts yelling at him in front of everyone, embarrassing them all.
Jacob is exceptional in the art of seducing woman, but he isn’t able to seduce Hannah (Emma Stone). His advances make no impression on her, and she rebuffs him even though her friend tells her she is crazy for doing it. Emma, a recent law school graduate, is dating Richard (Josh Groban), who is very pompous. When she passes the bar exam, she thinks he wants to propose but he just offers her a partnership in the firm, telling her that he isn’t on the marriage level. It makes her realize what a douchebag he is and she breaks up with him in spectacular fashion. She heads over to the bar she met Jacob, kisses him, and he takes her to his place. Not for lack of trying, they don’t sleep together, but spend the night talking and laughing. They start dating, and Cal and Jacob’s relationship drifts apart.
Meanwhile, Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with an older teenager – the girl who babysits him Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Nothing she does will make him understand that she isn’t interested. Robbie has absolutely no chance because Jessica has a crush on Cal – to which he is completely oblivious to – but it is very strong. She takes matters into her own hands by taking naked pictures of herself with the intent to send it to Cal, but her parents catches her and all hell breaks loose. Her father is justifiably enraged and unfortunately thinks that Cal is a pedophile, and he heads over to the Weaver house to sort him out.
Cal realizes that the demise of his marriage is not only Emily’s fault, but that he also had a part in it. He makes a mini golf set in his garden and gets his children to help him out fix his marriage. All is going well until their eldest daughter – Hannah – shows up with her new boyfriend Jacob. Cal tells her that Jacob is scum, and she does what all daughters do – and ignores her father. To make matters worse, David Lindhagen and Jessica’s dad shows up and a massive fight breaks loose.
The exasperated cops eventually sort everything out and reprimand all of them, but Cal’s life is once again in pieces. Will he and Emily ever reconcile? Can Jacob convince Cal that Hannah made him change?
Miracles can happen – as proven in SCL. It is romantic, it is a comedy, so it is worthy of being called a romantic-comedy. Most movies only manage one of the two – and most often it ends up as a mushy romantic movie with lame attempts at jokes.
Steve Carell as Cal Weaver:
I was pleasantly surprised at Steve Carell’s performance. I am usually not a fan – I don’t watch the stuff he acts in (stupid comedy) but as Cal Weaver he managed to convince me that he has some credibility as an actor. Cal begins as this sad, generic home dad who has forgotten why he loves his wife and who he is. Through the help of Jacob, he lives to his true potential – attractive enough to get girls and kind enough to keep them.
Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer:
Deliciously good. He is already a good actor, but he was such a good choice for Jacob. He is sarcastic, funny, charming and intelligent in here. He shows that falling in love can change a man and make him become a real man. There is some real chemistry between him and Emma Stone, and that certainly contributed towards the success of the film.
Julianne Moore as Emily Weaver:
As the lady who is going through a midlife crisis, who went and watched a Twilight movie on her own and who managed to get through a teenage pregnancy, Emily is a funny and yet inspiring lady. I’ve always enjoyed watching Julianne Moore in movies – she is very graceful and seems to live scandal free. She and Cal shows that even the greatest love goes through a bad crisis and with the right attitude can survive.
Emma Stone as Hannah Weaver:
Her relation to the Weavers was excellently concealed until the right time and was brilliant to have been done so. I think she is amazingly funny and talented, equipped with hilarious facial expressions and attitude. Her break-up with Richard – done by the surprisingly hilarious Josh Groban – was very funny and he deserved what he got. Her initial dismissal of Jacob was awesome – it cut him down to size, established her dignity and set a standard where she could date him with confidence later.
Overall, it is a great movie that will also be enjoyable to people who don’t enjoy rom-coms. For one, there are no silly romantic gestures that will never happen in real life. Secondly, it is ridiculously funny. Thirdly, the cast is solid and able to act.
The only things I didn’t like were Analeigh Tipton as Jessica Riley. I seriously am disliking her right now –that ridiculous mouth and bad acting abilities tells me the new Michelle Trachtenberg has arrived, and Marisa Tomei, who I’ve never understood what the hype is about.
The ridiculous debate about the pronunciation of David Lindhagen was hilarious, Jacob’s fantastic reaction to meeting him even when he himself was fighting with Cal, how David was a relatively innocent person in the events (even though he slept with another man’s wife) and how he was involved in the fight in Emily’s poor garden.
Finally, it is one of my favorite movies in the genre. As I am writing this I can’t really recall a movie I like more in the dodgy rom-com area.
Go give it a try!