First Hit: This film had some very funny, sad, thoughtful moments, but wasn’t memorable.
Cal (played by Steve Carell) is married to Emily (played by Julianne Moore) and they’ve been married for a long time. They were each other’s soul mates but they’ve grown apart.
Emily has an affair with David Lindhagen (played by Kevin Bacon) and it devastates Cal. He moves out. They have three children one is grown and gone while the other two are younger. The boy Robbie (played by Jonah Bobo) is smart, wise and in love with the babysitter Jessica (played by Analeigh Tipton) who is 5 years older than Robbie but she has a crush on Cal.
Cal goes to a singles bar to drown his sorrows and watches as Jacob (played by Ryan Gosling) picks up woman after woman each and every night. Jacob, in turn, watches Cal telling tales in the bar about how his wife did him wrong and decides to help him out. He invites Cal on a shopping trip and then lets him listen to how he picks up women. One night Cal picks up Kate (played by Marisa Tomei) who likes his honesty and charm. He learns that Kate is a “5 years sober” teacher.
In the meantime we watch Hannah (played by Emma Stone) get shut down by a guy who offers her a job when she thought she was going to be proposed to. In a fit of upset, she finds Jacob, whom she turned down on an earlier encounter and makes him take her to his house for sex.
However, they end up in a long conversation and begin to fall in love. As they fall in love, Cal is busy picking up a string of women but missing Emily. Emily dates David but misses Cal. Robbie is making Jessica feel uncomfortable with his ever present text messages outlining his undying love.
This is the setup for what I think was the funniest and most interesting scene in the film. I won’t spoil it, and it has to do with people meeting people and the police having to separate all the men fighting each other.
Carell is good as a heart broken man and good as the newly coiffed player. However the word I used was good, not great as I continued to feel separateness from and not an embodiment of of the character he was playing. Moore was very good as the woman who was searching for femininity and inner glow again. Bacon was perfect for the short but important part as the “other man”. Bobo was very good, although some of his lines and actions seemed more than what a 12 year old would say or do. Tipton was wonderful and perfect as the babysitter who is beautiful, doesn’t know it, and feeling the pressure of her first crush. Tomei was outstanding as the teacher who finds out she slept with, yet another man, who lied to her. Gosling was fully engaging as the guy with the photo-shopped body and used his charms to pick up women but then was able to meet someone whom he really cared about. Dan Fogelman wrote a strong and, at times, surprising script although I think the 12 year old lines were overly adult at times. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa directed the film with skill in many places including the little surprises that lead to a nice climax. However, it was longer than needed and there could have been some pruning of a number of scenes (including lawn raking and bar pickup bits).
Overall: The film was enjoyable and surprising moments that were really funny.