Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) have been married for 25 years. They were high-school sweethearts. But one evening while they are out in a restaurant, she tells him that she wants a divorce, adding that she has been having an affair. He decides to leave her in their suburban home with their two kids. It is extremely difficult for Cal to exit given he has always seen Emily as his soul mate. Now he is suddenly adrift in the mysterious and terrifying world of singles. At the insurance office where he works, someone hears him crying in the men's room and assumes he has just been diagnosed with cancer. When his co-workers learn that he is just getting divorced they clap for joy.
At a local bar, Cal laments his fate and meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a slick and cocky pick-up artist who volunteers to help this clueless middle-ager learn the tricks of hitting on women. He says to him:
"Cal, you've got a kind face. You've got a good head of hair. You seem like a nice guy. I'm going to help you rediscover your manhood."
Jacob helps him choose new clothing and adapt a more youthful and confident appearance. It works as Cal has his first date with Kate (Marisa Tomei), a teacher who has fun with him but doesn't respond well to his subsequent swift disappearance from her life.
Meanwhile Cal's 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is infatuated with his babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who, in turn, has gone gaga over a much older man. But she refuses to acknowledge Robbie's confessions of love as genuine. He is a serious teenager and he is not at all pleased with the way adults treat his feelings as something akin to puppy love. Even his dad's response is not what he was hoping to hear: "You like her?" And Robbie answers: "I like Pringles. This girl, she's incredible. She's my soul mate."
Hannah (Emma Stone) is an attractive young woman who is ready to take her bar exams. She has placed her hopes for a long-term relationship on Richard (Josh Groban), a lawyer at the firm where she's been working. Her best friend Liz (Liz Lapira) is appalled at her choice and thinks Hannah can do much better. When her boyfriend reveals his true colors, she is sent into the arms of Jacob Palmer who awhile back had tried unsuccessfully to sweet talk her into having a one-night stand. Although they are ready to make mad passionate love, they spend most of their first night sharing the stories of their lives.
Crazy Stupid Love, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, is based on a very clever and savvy screenplay by Dan Fogelman. One of the best screen comedies of 2011, this quirky drama covers the struggles of three generations of characters to unlock the complicated dynamics of love and the mysteries of sexual politics. Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo, and Analeigh Tipton all deliver wonderfully vulnerable and emotionally rich performances — the reason why this comedy stands out from the crowd of Hollywood movies in this genre.
The closing sections of Crazy Stupid Love resolves all these relationships with some breath-taking surprises that speak to the heart. It seems almost as if the screenplay writer has taken his finale from William Shakespeare's jubilant Much Ado About Nothing where despite all the trickery and the misunderstandings, love triumphs and sends us on our way rejoicing!
Special features on the DVD include "Steve and Ryan Walk into a Bar"; "The Player Meets His Match"; and deleted scenes.