Crazy, Stupid Love: Neither Crazy Or Stupid

by Frost on August 16, 2011

I think a lot of people missed the boat in their analysis of  this movie. Spoilers ahead, in case you care.

It’s a movie about game, the sexual marketplace and self-improvement, so obviously I had to see it. The trailer will tell you everything you need to know about the plot:

From that, you would expect a pretty typical Hollywood happy ending. Steve Carrell and his cheating wife get back together. The incorrigible PUA finds true love and happiness with the ginger girl. The American movie-going public cries out for shmaltz, and they get it good and hard.

Crazy Stupid Love doesn’t actually come with a happy ending, though. It tricks the unthoughtful into thinking the ending is happy, but the reality is (at best) ambiguous.

Of course, the final act features a ballsy Steve Carrell standing up in front of the world to deliver a heartfelt paean to the powers of true love, and his dedication to spending the rest of his life chasing after his soul mate, aka his wife of twenty-five years and three children who had just cheated on and divorced him. Ryan Gosling, of course, realizes that his life of expensive toys and casual sex with model-hot women is really an unhappy sham, and that true bliss can only be found in the heart of the one good woman who hath soothed his tormented heart. Even the 13-year old with a crush on his babysitter leaves off on a hopeful note.

But the movie, to it’s great credit, leaves each of these nascent relationships hanging in midair. Steve Carrell is still a man who can choose between hot young women, and a selfish, petulant, aging ex-wife who cheated on him, filed for divorce and stole his house and livelihood because she wasn’t super-duper happy.

The playboy has spent a few months banging the same girl, and apparently she occasionally spends the night. From this, we are to conclude that he’s turned over a new leaf.

And what’s the message that Steve Carrell imparts on his young son in his final, tear-jerking speech?

“Son, I’ve been a good man my entire life, devoting myself to providing for you, your sisters and your mother. But, mommy got bored of me because I wear New Balance sneakers and off-the-rack suits, so she banged another guy and filed for divorce, condemning me to a life of poverty, and the three of you to growing up without a father. But you know what? That’s OK, because I’m mad at myself for wearing cheap clothes and gaining 10lbs.  Your mother had every right to do what she did. But I’m going to make it up to you. I’m going to keep fighting for your mother, because that’s what a MAN does.”

 

Roll credits. I doubt the actors signed contracts with options for Crazy, Stupid Love 2: Crazier and Stupider. We assume the best for everyone, because that’s what we’re trained us to do. Props to the film’s creators for taking advantage of their audience’s stupidity and biases, and making a movie that appears to have a happy ending, without actually having to lie to us.

Using my keen cynic’s eye, let me pass on a proposed storyboard for the sequel.

Act #1: Steve Carrell realizes that he wants nothing to do with his cheating whore of an ex-wife. He continues living it up to the extent that he can, working out, dressing well, making money, and bringing hot babes back to his studio apartment. He is smart and cynical enough to hire a cut throat lawyer, and wins partial custody of his kids. The ex-wife quickly realizes that she is a 45-year -old with three kids, and no intelligent and self-assured man would risk any sort of commitment to her given her recent history of trustworthiness.

Act #2: Ryan Gosling realizes that while he loved the ginger girl, the road from callous asshole to good husband takes at least a decade, and it’s paved with many broken hearts. The ginger is cruelly fated to be Ryan Gosling’s training dummy, the first of many such. He breaks her heart, thus ending her faith in love, and his bromance with Steve Carrell. Over the next five years, he will have several more mini-relationships, of varying levels of seriousness, each time doing serious damage to whichever girl finds herself next in line. Finally, at the age of 42, he will have several out-of-wedlock children with a hot 27-year-old from either a small town or a foreign country.

Act #3: Steve Carrell’s son looks around in the world, and mentally compares the fortunes of the Steve Carrells and the Ryan Goslings. He opts to live the life of the latter. At the age of 23, he bangs his 27-year old ex-babysitter, and doesn’t call her for 2 months, at which point he sends her a drunken text message. They bang one more time, and never speak again.

Act #4: Steve Carrell’s younger daughter grows up in a world of Ryan Goslings, each dangling the promise of commitment like a carrot in her face, keeping it just out of reach until they begin ignoring her en masse in her mid thirties. She dies childless and alone.

Act #5: Plummeting birth rates, decaying familial bonds, huge numbers of senior citizens (Such as, the ex-wife) whose children have no desire to care for them, skyrocketing crime committed by fatherless men, a generation of lonely, despondent children who will never feel a fraction of the love and intimacy the human mind is capable of experiencing.

Fin.

At the end of the movie, the audience is left with the vague sense that everything’s going to be OK, even though the movie never specifically says it will be so. One is left with the same sense, reading the mainstream media’s take on the state of families in America today. But the reality is that we’re headed for an interesting couple of decades.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

ruddyturnstone November 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm

First of all, I disagree that the movie leaves a whole lot open-ended and unresolved…it seems pretty clear to me that Carrell and Moore are reunited and that Stone and Gosling are going to get married, or, at least, have an LTR together.

From an MRA/MGTOW perspective, some observations…first of all, before getting into the problems, and there are many, I should say that the film gets a few things right. Like that Moore finds out, contra the usual “Eat, Love, Pray” scenario, that being the middle aged divorced wife of a good beta is not necessarily so great. Rather than having a hot, twenty something carpenter/millionaire courting her, all she has is a rather shabby looking and acting co worker Kevin Bacon sniffing around her, and he ain’t much. The notion of cheating and getting divorced simply because one is not “haaaapy” is shown to be not only destructive to others but self destructive as well. Also, the movie shows, somewhat realistically, that Moore’s interest in Carrell is rekindled to some extent once it is clear that other women want him. And it portrays beta Carrell rather sympathetically. I found particularly poignant, as well as amusing, his ongoing concern for what had been his beautiful lawn and garden at what is now “her,” his ex wife’s, house. He sneaks over there after dark, and does work on it, partly to be near her and his family, but partly because, as a good beta, he really likes to build things and make them grow.

The flaws…where to start? How about when Moore announces her infidelity (with Bacon) to Carrell and demands a divorce, he immediately, without consulting a lawyer, and without a word of protest, announces that he will be moving out and does so on what appears to be the next day. True, the gynocentric family court would almost certainly have awarded her the house anyway, eventually (probably as soon as the preliminary hearing but almost certainly in the final settlement). Nevertheless, it seems a bit odd, not to mention completely unfair, that a woman announces her infidelity, and her desire for a divorce, yet the man is the one who must move out of the marital and family residence. And do so without the least protest or even hesitation. Indeed, as mentioned, he volunteers to do so, as if this outcome is not only foreordained, but somehow reasonable and fair too. Perhaps the notion is that he can’t stand to be in the same house as her, but that seems unlikely because it is clear that he doesn’t even want the divorce, and still loves her, but, even if that was the case, it still seems more fitting that she, as the adulterer, should be the one to have move out.

Continuing with the main story, Carrell learns some PUA moves from Gosling, and scores a few chicks. We are only shown one, his first (who turns out to be his son’s teacher), but he claims nine and there is no reason to doubt that. So far, so good, although nine does seem a little inflated, guys like Carrell typically do fare better than their ex’es when it comes to dating. And, as mentioned, his new look and dating success does rekindle Moore’s interest. But the movie can’t leave it at that. No, because Carrell scored with the teacher, because he used what is his only genuine “line” (“you somehow manage to look both cute and sexy at the same time”) on the teacher, when it had, apparently, been his trademark compliment to Moore, and the fact that he has had so MANY new women, that somehow retroactively “justifies” her cheating. Now, somehow, she is the injurred party. She says, supposedly witheringly, to him, that she doesn’t “know who his is” anymore.

Whatevs. What was he supposed to do? He had only been with one woman in his whole life (Moore), and, after decades of marrige to her, during which he had been faithful and a good provider, she cheated on him and divorced him. Should he have jumped from that immediately into another LTR? Isn’t he entitled to “play the field,” at least a little bit?

Next, Carrell repeats, as our blog host here mentions, what is the all-too-often feminist, mangina and, to some extent, PUA, claim that his wife’s infidelity is somehow his fault. He got too boring. He wore the wrong shoes. He stopped taking her dancing and to play mini golf. He was too beta. Etc, etc. This not only is disgusting in that it serves to excuse the truly wrongdoing party for her bad behvior, but also because it endorses the view that a married man, a man who unfailingly goes to work and puts his paycheck at his wife’s disposal, a man who is faithful and doesn’t even flirt with other women, and who is a good father to boot, is still somehow obligated to “Game” or otherwise continue to “woo” his wife. If women want to be “wooed” or “Gamed” then they should stay single. No man is obligated to put on a show for his wife, like a trained seal, in order to prevent her from following her baser urges. Sorry to any LTR Game advocates out there, but to claim otherwise is just not fair.

Moving on to the secondary relationship, that of Gosling and Stone, there are some more problems. Least of all is how ridiculously over-the-top Hollywood the PUA’s success rate is portrayed. Basically, he never fails to score (except with Stone) and brings home a Whiman Sampler of blonde, brunette, red head, Asian, and African American supermodel-gorgeous hotties every night. Whatever, as that kind of thing is to be expected in a mainstream movie, and does provide a lot of eye candy. The movie does show how some of the Game techniques really do work, and that women are really kind of pathetic for falling for them so easily.

Buuuut, Gosling’s immediate transformation from super alpha PUA supreme to aspiring, struggling beta wannabe, simply because, when Stone shows up again, she goes home with him and manages to be so cute and engaging that his interest in merely “banging” her is transformed into “true love”, is utterly unconvincing. OK, she’s cute and funny. So what? Does that mean he, automatically, all at once, without ever looking back and without the least bit of regret, is going to foreswear his revolving harem of hotties? Please. The movie does make a half assed effort to show that Gosling’s parents had a disfunctional marriage (wouldn’t you know it? his father was too beta!), and that’s why he became a PUA, but that is completely unconvincing and appears to have been stuck into the script in the last minute. Relatedly, the movie portrays being a PUA as sleazy, and drives home this point by having Carrell stumble upon the fact that his PUA guru is now courting his daughter (neatly encapsulating the anti PUA bromide of “how would you like it if a guy treated your daughter ((or sister or mother)) like that….”). But what, exactly, has Gosling (or Carrell during his brief PUA career) done wrong? They meet women in what is clearly a “pick up” bar. They Game them, and then take them home for what are clearly consensual one night stands. Never do they promise a second date, never mind “true love.” The smug superiority, the unproven assumption that being a beta husband and father is neccessarily better, for every man, than being a PUA alpha is astounding. Particularly in this case, because Carrell is himself Exhibit A for the case that being a beta husband and father can quite easily lead to being cuckolded and divorced.

This takes us to Stone. She is taking the bar exam, and hopes that her boyfriend, who appears to be in charge of her law firm, is going to propose to her. Only he doesn’t. Instead, when she passes the bar, he merely offers her a permanent position in the firm. And this is presented as totally outrageous! First of all, the guy is kinda nerdy and their relationship is so low key that it is not immediately clear that they are even an item (they don’t sit next to each other, they don’t kiss, etc). But whatever. The real killer here, for me, is the absolute certainty that the movie makers had that the audience would immediately and automatically conclude that the guy is an “asshole” for not proposing when she wants him to. How dare he! Here we have a woman who wants to get married and a man who won’t immediately give her what she wants! Someone call out the National Guard! She, apparently, has every right to “wait” through her college and law school years. That is her womanly perogative, I guess. She is also quite hot, and one suspects, has enjoyed the attention of men for a decade or more, before she decided she wanted the ring. But the nerdy guy, the guy in what appears to be his early thirties, who, perhaps, for the first time in his life, has gotten the attention of women as hot as Stone, must, at her command, immediately settle down with her. It reminds me of that famous “The Bachelor” episode in which the female thirtyfive-ish doctor demands that the thirtyfive-ish male doctor marry her. Why, he is “selfish” for wanting to wait, and enjoy for a little while his new found desirability. But, of course, she had every right to wait until her desirability started to decline. Same deal here. It’s a small point in the overalll scheme of the movie, and really only serves to provide an pretext for Stone to go back to the pick up bar and hook up with Gosling, but it really got my goat. Even more irritating, perhaps, is Stone’s girlfriend, who can’t wait to give her a “you go girl” high five when she storms out of the restuarant after the non proposal. As a side issue, notice too that Stone, although a lawyer, although completely “liberated,” does not propose to the guy. No, of course not, because liberated or not, feminist or not, as a woman, she has every right to demand a proposal, but no obligation, like a guy does, to make one herself, and potentially meet with rejection.

On the main points, one last thing…. the movie has a ridiculously childish, school girl notion of “soul mates” that it seems to want to prove has actual value in the real world. Carrell and Moore were soul mates, and met age fifteen (although it was a pregnancy at age seventeen that led them to get married). Lotta good that did Carrell when Moore decided he was too boring! Stone and Gosling are “soul mates” too, doncha know. Carrell’s son, who has a crush on his seventeen year old baby sitter believes in the soul mate nonsense too. It would have been more convincing if he were merely a horny boy just reaching his puberty and, quite naturally, focussing his attention on the nearest hot girl of what he percieves to be the right age. As it is, the movie tries to have it both ways, with the boy realizing that, for now, he is out of the running, but claiming he wll renew his interest when they are both older; even more unrealistically, the babysitter actually encourageing him by giving him some naked pictures of herself to “help him get through high school.” The babysitter, who has a crush on Carrell (she took the naked pictures for him), at least does not explicitly state that she thinks they are soul mates. She just sees a great guy, and thinks Moore is “batshit crazy” for dumping him. Anyway, I will say, in the movie’s defense, that the son and the babysitter are not played strictly for laughs, and that while male, and to a lesser extent, female, sexaulity is gently mocked, feelings of love and lust generally are not. In other words, no one’s sexuality is seen as valueless and merely an occasion for guffaws.

A cute point is when Carrell accepts Gosling as his daughter’s boyfriend. All along, Gosling has been smug and condescending to Carrell. The alpha talking down to the beta, even as he instructs him. He even slapped Carrell a few times. Well, at the end, Carrell, as the zen master of betahood, is clearly in the dominant, patriarchal position viz a viz Gosling, who, as a humbled, repentent ex PUA, is desperately seeking Carrell’s approval as a suitor to his daughter. Carrell playfully turns the tables on him and slaps Gosling a couple of times, telling him that he is going to enjoy this.

Overall, I agree with our author viz a viz the ending of the movie and the ridiculousness of Carrell’s Big Speech. And that his proposed sequel would actually be more true to life than the nonsense presented in the final acts of the movie. My only caveat is that the movie does actually at least raise the right questions and issues, and, for once, does not do so in a completely and consistently gynocentric and misandric way. I see this as progress viz a viz the standard, Eat, Pray, Love, scenario. Also, the movie is damn funny too, and it is intended to be a romantic comedy, not a scientific survey or a political tract. The gags are good, the “surprizes” are pulled off well, and the actors are great.

Pity October 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Haha love the post-story, i think it’s dead accurate!

Dain August 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

It’s funny how the MRA crowd, presumably people that are more manly than all those clueless betas and losers out there, are into chick flicks. Chick flicks for middle aged women to boot.

Hey I like it too, just sayin.

Frost August 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

I’m all about the chick flicks. Also read and posted about Eat, Pray Love earlier, and read E. Gilbert’s other book, committed, which was surprisingly good. How else can we understand our culture if not by diving into it occasionally?

Stephenie Rowling August 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Frost I have a suggestion for an article for you, what email can I reach you? I any case use my email and sent me yours…see you!

Frost August 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

Email sent, look forward to the suggestion. I think the email is in my about page, but I’ll double check.

Anon August 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I’d be curious to see a movie about MGTOWs of the hooker fucking variety. They are often aware of the true nature of women and realize the best thing “love” offers can be rented for $200 an hour

Frost August 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

Not sure what that script would look like. Also disagree that sex is the only thing women can offer. Ever been in love?

IMO, the key to successful relationships is avoiding the stupid naivety that characterizes the majority of men, without reacting (as I would say you have done) to the opposite extreme. Love is beautiful, and I intend to experience it repeatedly throughout my (unmarried) life.

Dalrock August 19, 2011 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the linkage Frost. Great post, but this is some brutal stuff. I guess it is a good sign that Hollywood is at least starting to address reality, even if it tries to spin it in the end. What I don’t think they understand is that once a man learns game he isn’t likely to be tricked by this sort of thing. Learning game requires men to make a brutally honest assessment of the women they are pursuing. The writers may hope that men like Carrell’s character will just learn enough game to rewin their cheating wive’s hearts, but once a man in that situation has enough game he will also see the truth of what she is.

Frost August 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

Agreed. I think it’s absolutely crucial for all young men today to learn game, and the realistic, un-idealized version of human female psychology that comes with it. This is true for men looking to rack up 100+ notches, and men looking to find a good woman and have a family with her. Even if you want the latter, you still need to understand women enough to “tame” that one woman, and you need to confidence that comes with knowing you have options to enter a relationship from a position of strength.

Jokah Macpherson August 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

What happens to Kevin Bacon’s character? For that matter, what the hell happened to Kevin Bacon? That dude looks a little rough these days.

Brooklyn August 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I don’t really like to comment on movies I haven’t seen (and these days unless its a major event I don’t really like to go to the movies, mostly on the principle that I can’t justify spending money so I can basically spend two to three hours sitting in the dark) but from what I grasp of the plot and the ending, they did the best they could; nobody wants to invest that kind of time and mental effort for the realistic ending which is basically what you outline for the potential sequel.

From the sound of it, it seems that Steve Carrell’s character was pretty much shell shocked most of the movie and mostly wants things to go back the way they were which would explain his desire to reunite with his wife. The future between them would depend on if he kept up on improving himself; if he does then after a while he’d begin to realize that his value has gone up while she has remained the same, therefore eventually killing his interest while deepening hers. Eventually they’d end up reversed; him enjoying his life, probably ending up in a steady relationship with a younger woman while she spends her time lamenting and rationalizing what she did (in a way that will probably end up hurting her younger children).

As for the relationship between Steve Carrell’s daughter and Ryan Gosling, that depends. I agree that it probably doesn’t have much of a future; a serious player isn’t going to settle down that young if he settles down at all but I wouldn’t say that she’s likely to end up losing all faith in love. It depends on circumstances or more specifically on if her self-improved father stepped in to really offer a fathers advice to her and if she in turn bothers to accept any insight. Then she has a chance for something normal. But wasn’t she working to become a lawyer? For women, thats like the undergraduate program for becoming a glass-eyed burned-out cat herder.

As for society I agree that the next couple of decades will be interesting but at the same time I’m in the mood to be less pessimistic right now. It’ll be rough but resignation doesn’t do much more than make the case for addicting yourself to virtual reality. Every century has a couple of interesting decades but life goes on. Things didn’t stop when the Roman Republic fell; they didn’t stop when the Roman Empire fell; they aren’t going to stop now either. Just keep working on yourself and let the world keep spinning around the sun.

Y August 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I’m sure the closing speech would make me cry as well… at the thought of anyone taking it seriously.

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