UK Release date: 23rd September 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 11th November 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Every now and then you have to let a little romance into your life; I know this can be hard for some, but believe me, it’s really worth getting in touch with your mushy side every now and then. As a bit of an old romantic at heart I have no problem with the occasional rom-com; so long as it’s a good one (not overly schmaltzy, that kind of thing). Having heard some good reports on this one I decided to give it a look when it came up in the TV listings recently… Here are my thoughts.
I actually found it quite engaging eventually; it was a little hard to get into at first but when the narrative began to settle down I could see a structure there that had potential. Brief summary: When Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) announces to her husband Cal (Steve Carell) that she wants a divorce, his world collapses around him. She had slept with another man, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) and Cal finds that hard to take since they had been together since high school. He takes to going to bars to drown his sorrows and is taken under the wing of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who shows him how to dress, behave and (most importantly) how to pick up women. At this he is quite successful (eventually) but he feels there is still something missing. Meanwhile there are a couple of other sub-plots going on. One involves Cal’s son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who has become infatuated with his babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). She, meanwhile is holding a torch for Cal… With me so far?... Also, there is law student, Hannah (Emma Stone) who Jacob had been unsuccessful in picking up when we first meet him (I can’t really say any more about her without giving too much away, so here I’ll stop). All these threads eventually tie together in what (at times) appears like a French farce, but which does ultimately have a very valid point.
All the performances were very good with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore taking centre stage. I thought Kevin Bacon was slightly underused, and more could have been made of Emma Stone’s character. Over all, it’s pretty well made but the narrative does tend to wander in places. An endearing film that does have quite a strong message about love and about soul mates. I freely admit this old romantic found it quite relatable.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.5/10
IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 158,600 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 76,762 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Jacob: I'm going to help you rediscover your manhood. Do you have any idea where you could have lost it?
Jacob: The skin under your eyes is starting to look like Hugh Hefner's ball sack.
Cal: [Carefully looks at himself on mirror and sighs... ] Yes, it is.
Jacob: I'm wildly unhappy, and I'm trying to buy it, and it's not working.
Robbie: You wanna talk about The Scarlet Letter, Ms. Tafferty? All right. Well, the A they're both wearing - I think it stands for "asshole." Wanna know why? Because they fell in love and love is for stupid assholes. And this book is just about a bunch of assholes who fell in love, like assholes, then had to die, like assholes. I'm sorry about all the "assholes."
Hannah: Will you take off your shirt... fuck! Seriously? It's like you're Photoshopped!
Cal: Are you pointing at me?
Robbie: You're pointing at him?
Emily: She's pointing at him? OH!
Cal: I have loved her even when I hated her... only married couples'll understand that one...