“One Day” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love”

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in "One Day."

There are two things I always take with me to a multiplex in the summer, a light jacket and earplugs.  Most summer movies, and their trailers, are so loud that I can hear them just fine with both ears plugged.  Add to this the fact that the multiplex air conditioning seems to be set on “Artic” and you will understand the need for the jacket.  Do not get me wrong.  I like air conditioning and would rather be too cold than too hot, as long as I am prepared.  The only relationship that any of this has to the two movies discussed herein is the fact that I saw both films locally at AMC Loews Kips Bay Theatre, multiplex, at 570 Second Avenue.  “One Day” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” are two films that deal with the subject of relationships from very different points of view.

The structure of “One Day” shows the events in the lives of its two main characters, Emma and Dexter, on one day, July 15, year after year, starting in 1988 and moving ahead to 2011.  July 15, I learned from this film, is Saint Swiggins Day, properly pronounced “Saint Swithuns.”  One can “google” the day, to find its significance, but it has no bearing on the story, as far as I can tell.

“One Day” is simply the story of two lives, lived with their triumphs and defeats, expectations and disappointments.  Emma is played by Anne Hathaway, and Dexter by Jim Sturgess.  Both actors are very good, with Hathaway putting on a British accent and, at points, appearing dressed down and dowdy, as befits Emma at different chapters in her life.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” stars one note actor Steve Carell in yet another of his seemingly endless “nebbish” roles.  Carell plays a character named Cal who is dumped by his wife Emily (Julianne Moore).  Cal finds dating success when he gets trained by Jacob (Ryan Gosling), his much younger and smoother, dating mentor, who turns the Carrell’s nebbish into a dating machine.  Complications follow.  Hilarity attempts to ensue.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” utilizes all sorts of screenwriting gymnastics and coincidences combined with many scenes that are, for the most part, silly and not credible.  Ultimately the movie goes on too long and even turns a little creepy when an under age girl takes nude photos of herself that she intends to give to a 40 plus man.   The latter event leads to a forced, contrived, climactic scene involving all of the film’s main characters, that would have been completely unnecessary if two of the characters had simply had a 30 second conversation.  Of course though, the bit relies on bad movie logic where the characters, for the sake of the screenplay, do not act like people would in real life.

“One Day” deals with life and relationships in a manner that feels authentic and genuine. “Crazy, Stupid, Love” takes more of a crowd pleasing, sitcom approach and will probably be the more successful of the two, although not necessarily the better movie.


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on August 25, 2011, in New. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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