Monday, September 5, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a classic romantic comedy, a vehicle for stars like Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell to strut their stuff. When seeing an all-Hollywood product like this, one is reminded of Dorothy Parker’s famous quip, "Katharine Hepburn delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions, from A to B.” But there are odd things  that push the envelope. For instance, a 17-year-old babysitter sending nude pictures of herself to her charge’s father. And in an otherwise milquetoasty comedy of this sort, based on the simple premise that a husband left by his wife of twenty-five years has to reinvent himself, the viral nature of Oedipal complexes should also be noted. A thirteen-year-old is in love with his babysitter, who meanwhile pines for the boy’s father. The boy’s older sister falls for the smooth-talking lothario who has, unbeknownst to either of them, been her father’s Mephistopheles, coaching him in his efforts to reinvent himself. To make matters even more complicated, the father eventually ends up repudiating his prospective new son-in-law, who had been his mentor in promiscuity and thus a father figure of sorts. Anagnorisis is the Greek word for a scene of discovery, like the one in which Oedipus confronts the reality that he has murdered his father. Crazy, Stupid, Love, a movie with not all that much to recommend it beyond its Dr. Feelgood effect, has anagnorises in spades.

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