Of all the rom-coms that hit theaters in the past year, few will likely ever be as good as Crazy, Stupid, Love (Rated PG-13, Warner Bros., $16.99-$24.99 depending on version and format, 4-of-5 stars).
What set Crazy apart? It felt real.
It tells the story of a 40s couple, Cal and Emily (Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore) who separate after years of marriage. Their situation isn’t unique. In marriage, familiarity and routine breed apathy. After more than two decades of marriage, they’re so familiar with one another that everything from home to intimate life possesses all the freshness of a rotten egg.
Cal ends up hanging out with Jacob (a fantastic Ryan Gosling), who teaches him how to freshen his personality and look. He ends up completely transforming Cal into a stud with the ability to bed most any woman who catches his fancy. That in itself makes for interesting situations in the movie, but there are plenty others as well.
Ultimately, that’s the charm of Crazy, Stupid, Love. Its situations drip with raw, honest emotion and on top of it, it’s got enough laughs to power two romantic comedies.
Extras: You won’t find anything too scintillating in the included goodies for this flick. The most significant one comes in the form of the UltraViolet digital copy that allows streaming of the movie from a myriad of devices. Other than that the producers include a couple of featurettes – Steve and Ryan Walk Into a Bar and The Player Meets His Match – along with some deleted scenes. They’re adequate, but unspectacular.
Unspectacular is the perfect description for Cars 2 (Rated G, Walt Disney/Pixar, $16.99-$26.99 depending on version and format, 3-of-5 stars), the lone Pixar flick that no one really wanted to see a sequel to.
The first one was slightly amusing at best, boring at worst. This one doesn’t really fall into the slightly amusing category.
This time Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) that spectacular race car takes a challenge from an Italian race car to appear in Europe. He drags along his best bud Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), who wreaks all types of havoc and through some convoluted means manages to be mistaken for a secret agent.
The wee ones might enjoy it, but for adults this is a slog, so be warned.
Extras: The extras will vary greatly depending on which version of the release you buy, but they range from a single DVD to an 11-disc uber set. Needless to say, more discs, more goodies.
Short takes: An unexpected treat showed up in my mail recently – Luther 2 – the second season in the BBC America series starting The Wire’s Idris Elba. As a widower returning to police work after his wife’s death, he brings sensitivity and intelligence to the part. What’s most refreshing is that the show itself relies on intelligence instead of violence.
Early Christmas: A modern Christmas classic – Scrooged – starring Bill Murray makes its debut on blu-ray this week. For anyone not acquainted with Murray’s ode to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you sincerely don’t know what you’ve been missing. Murray’s manic portrayal of a wayward TV executive represents one of his best performances. It’s sparse when it comes to extras, including only a trailer…And a classic Christmas classic gets its release this week as well as the Frank Capra-Jimmy Stewart collaboration It’s a Wonderful Life bows on blu-ray this week also. If you own the remastered DVD from some years back, it’s the same release right down to the featurette. But it’s Capra. It’s Stewart and the story is timeless. If you don’t own it, it’s worth buying.