It’s an ugly truth: so many marriages ferment into shams, particularly as the couples that enter into them pass out of the luster of youth and into shriveled old age, realizing that their scraggly loins no longer burn with desire for their partners. In Hope Springs, Kay Soames (Meryl Streep) is determined that her marriage to her husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) isn’t going to become one more connubial geriatric case. To try to get the marital juices flowing again, Kay purchases a getaway package to a small village where marriage counselor Bernie Fields (Steve Carrell) is in residence.
At last, an intelligent, well-crafted, and aptly cast romantic comedy—they seem about as rare these days as successful marriages. God knows I’ve watched some clunkers from that genre of late, most recently that aimless, gender-stereotyped piece of PC garbage The Rebound. I’m thankful to have that vile taste out of my mouth. But let’s be positive. I’m really thankful that Crazy, Stupid, Love is not your average, by-the-numbers love story. And it doesn’t just glibly weave a cento of meaningless stock messages that moralize or insult your intelligence. Or cynically mock platonic love, as the title might lead one to believe.
When a film-making team needs to resort to poopy-mouth and low-brow sexual humor to get your attention, it means the idea well runneth dry. I guess in the case of The Rebound, it actually makes sense: they needed lots of penis talk and a reference to a texted image of a kid’s two-foot bowel movement to try to distract the viewer from feeling cheated for sitting through banal truisms, stock characterization, and a disjointed, implausible plot.