Cal Weaver is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily. Cal's seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer, a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.
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Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have the perfect life together living the American dream... until Emily asks for a divorce. Now Cal, Mr Husband, has to navigate the single scene with a little help from his professional bachelor friend Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Make that a lot of help...
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I actually found it quite engaging eventually; it was a little hard to get into at first but when the narrative began to settle down I could see a structure there that had potential. Brief summary: When Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) announces to her husband Cal (Steve Carell) that she wants a divorce, his world collapses around him. She had slept with another man, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) and Cal finds that hard to take since they had been together since high school. He takes to going to bars to drown his sorrows and is taken under the wing of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who shows him how to dress, behave and (most importantly) how to pick up women. At this he is quite successful (eventually) but he feels there is still something missing. Meanwhile there are a couple of other sub-plots going on. One involves Cal's son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), who has become infatuated with his babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). She, meanwhile is holding a torch for Cal
With me so far?... Also, there is law student, Hannah (Emma Stone) who Jacob had been unsuccessful in picking up when we first meet him (I can't really say any more about her without giving too much away, so here I'll stop). All these threads eventually tie together in what (at times) appears like a French farce, but which does ultimately have a very valid point.nnAll the performances were very good with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore taking centre stage. I thought Kevin Bacon was slightly underused, and more could have been made of Emma Stone's character. Over all, it's pretty well made but the narrative does tend to wander in places. An endearing film that does have quite a strong message about love and about soul mates. I freely admit this old romantic found it quite relatable.nnSteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDEDnnMy score: 7.5/10nnYou can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts of a SteelMonster.
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