10. Crazy, Stupid, Love
Director: Glenn Ficcara and John Requa
Stars: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon
To call Crazy, Stupid, Love a “romantic comedy” seems like an unfair slight. By doing so, you’d lump the summer’s best date movie into the same box as films starring Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, and/or Sarah Jessica Parker, and desecrate its commendable script with allusions to such narrative malarkey as Valentine’s Day. But, hey, you’ve got to call a spade a spade, right? And, technically, Crazy, Stupid, Love is a rom-com.
Well, in all actuality, it’s much more than your basic rom-com; on deeper inspection, Steve Carell’s first big post-Office look is a tender glimpse into the heartbroken lives of characters wading through a failed marriage, hindered by shallow playboy tendencies, and dumbstruck by puppy love. The emotional moments hit hard (a phone exchange between Carell and Julianne Moore is heart-melting stuff), and, thanks to great performances from all on board (particularly Ryan Gosling’s revelatory comedic work and Emma Stone’s adorable wit), the characters aren’t one-note ciphers. It’s like He’s Just Not That Into You as constructed by people who’ve never undergone lobotomies.