Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) are about to have a divorce. Disoriented and dispirited, he begins to frequent a bar where he meets resident Casanova Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who decides to take the poor guy under his wing. Given a quick makeover, Cal soon becomes a smooth talker himself and starts picking up women, one of which is English teacher Kate Tafferty (Marisa Tomei). Emily, on the other hand, continues to go out with co-worker David (Kevin Bacon). Meanwhile, Jacob starts to fall for a lawyer named Hannah (Emma Stone), and turns to Cal for advice. Together they try to survive this crazy and stupid phenomenon we call Love.
What is noteworthy about the movie is that all of the characters, except maybe for Bacon and Tomei who have minimal participation (more like extended cameos), have their own stories which are not left unresolved (almost) by the end of the movie. Enough exposure is given to each one of them for their stories to come full circle, unlike some movies where the support cast are just that, support. However, the most interesting thing about the movie is the plot. The climax is plain awesome in that it is a riot, in every sense of the word. It is funny, touching, and well executed, which is how the entire movie is. It is amazing how it could make you laugh, almost bring you to tears, and give you some realizations about life that come in handy in the real world, all at the same time.
Much of the reviews I have read beforehand have not failed to mention Gosling's abs, which are showcased in several scenes, but more prominently in that scene at his house. As Stone's character would say, Fvck, you're like, photoshopped! True enough, but what is really striking in that scene is the way it unfolds, which is like a dissection of a one night stand. The candidness of the scene establishes for the film some sort of self awareness, as if trying to be some sort of walk through about human relations in general.
I know the next sentence would seem really creepy especially coming from me. This movie makes you want to fall in love. It is crazy and stupid. People cry and go gaga over it. Some even kill themselves for it, but it is part of the human experience, is it not? Your journey here in this world would seem incomplete without it. Jacob pretty much summarizes everything in one of his bar dialogues with Cal. You see people in love doing crazy stuff and you view them as pathetic, but when it finally happens you are also caught off guard. Feel good movie.