This is a good film that sometimes flirts with greatness, especially when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are on screen. It’s a film that tries to do too much and tries to do it too neatly. The problem lies with Dan Fogelman’s screenplay. It has merits, but it also suffers from a more than slightly sitcom mentality. Cal (Steve Carell) is — he thinks — a happily married man, and then at dinner one night wife Emily (Julianne Moore) tells him she wants a divorce. On the ride home, she insists on confessing that she’s slept with a co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Cal does the only sensible thing: He jumps out of the car. Talked back into the car by Emily, he returns home with her where he announces the situation to son Robbie (Jonah Bobo), daughter Molly (Joey King), and babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). (As it turns out, Robbie has a crush on Jessica, who in turn has a crush on Cal.) Soon Cal has moved into a featureless apartment and has taken to going to a bar, drinking to excess, and telling anyone who will listen about his wife and David Lindhagen. This changes when Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a very successful ladies’ man, takes him under his wing and remakes him into at least a potential babe magnet. Now, off to the side of this is Hannah (Emma Stone), who Jacob unsuccessfully hit on before. Circumstances, however, find her finally taking Jacob up on his earlier offer, which, owing to the kind of movie we’re in, ends up meaning more to both of them than either ever imagined. Thing is — even though this is such a foregone conclusion that there are no surprises — their relationship and performances are quite the best thing in the movie. It’s all enjoyable and good-hearted, but it should have been better.
Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Producer: Steve Carell and Denise Di Novi
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Crystal Reed, Joey King, Liza Lapira and Katerina Mikailenko
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