INTELLIGENT and sophisticated adult-oriented romantic comedies that don’t resort to gross-out humour are rare.
So this is a rare treat, boasting pithy dialogue and exemplary performances from an ensemble cast who explore the many winding paths to true love.
The directors’ follow-up to I Love You Phillip Morris is hilarious, heartwarming and bittersweet, chronicling the ripple effect of impending divorce on a family.
The script is self-aware and pokes fun at convention and the good-looking cast.
As the film begins, silence speaks volumes between Cal (Steve Carell) and wife Emily (Julianne Moore).
Then she confesses she slept with co-worker David (Kevin Bacon) and wants a divorce.
The cuckolded husband seeks refuge at a bar where lothario Jacob (Ryan Gosling) assures him: “I’m going to help you rediscover your manhood.”
And so Cal seduces feisty school teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei), while Jacob pursues law student Hannah (Emma Stone).
Back home, the couple’s 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) declares his crush for 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).
The film elegantly interweaves subplots, knotting them messily in a frenetic final 20 minutes that is as close as the film comes to a formulaic rom com.
Carell and Moore are wonderful, milking their characters’ tears of regret.
Gosling demonstrates a light comic touch. And there’s a wonderful contrast between the cynicism of the older generation and the youngsters.