Ryan Gosling has never been one to shy away from the independent movie scene. It is actually rarer to see him in something as commercially appealing as Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's jointly directed Crazy, Stupid, Love. The premise of the movie echoes the general theme of another Gosling vehicle, Blue Valentine, which is, eventually, you're going to fall out of love with person you're with.
In the case of Crazy, Stupid, Love, Emily (Julianne Moore) is the one to admit that her zeal for her marriage to Cal (Steve Carrell) is no longer there (because it always seems to be the woman who wants to bolt). Written by Dan Fogelman (who typically deals with animated fare like Cars, Tangled, and Cars 2--fuck, this guy must be rich), the script has an overtly male tone. Not to say that there aren't a few accurate lines of misogyny in the mix, like when Jacob (Ryan Gosling) says, "The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise."
In the wake of being cruelly dumped by Emily (after she also confesses to having slept with her co-worker, David Lindhagen--a name you will hear repeated ad nauseum throughout the movie), Cal forces himself to move on by allowing Jacob, a lothario who frequents the same L.A. bar every night, to school him in the art of getting a woman into bed.
When Cal asks why Jacob would feel inclined to help him, Jacob replies, "Maybe you remind me of someone" (obviously, his own father). Under Jacob's tutelage, Cal manages to attract the interest of Kate (Marisa Tomei, who should really be trusted to carry a movie on her own. Everyone needs to stop saddling her with the supporting actress roles). In one of maybe two plotlines that you won't see coming, it turns out that Kate is the eighth grade teacher of Emily and Cal's son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo, who should probably change his last name to something that doesn't sound so, well, bad). When Emily learns of Cal's tawdry dalliance, it undoes any chance they might have had for reconciliation--until, of course, act three.
While Crazy, Stupid, Love might have you believe that its message is fundamentally different from Blue Valentine's in that the protagonist of the former is a stronger champion of the cause of fighting for the person you want to be with (I believe the gross term used--almost as frequently as the name David Lindhagen--is "soul mate"), if you look at the subtext, it points to the same cold, hard facts: Monogamy with any one person for too long will invariably become dull, unsatisfying, and unbearable. But on the flip side, having empty sex with people in bars can also yield the same adjectives. So really, the movie should have been given the broader title of Crazy, Stupid, Life.