Crazy, Stupid, Love. Blu-ray Review
Crazy Stupid Love comes to Region Free US Blu-ray complete with a very good but not exceptional 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Detail is generally of a good standard, and the image boasts no signs of digital defects, edge enhancement, artefacting, or anything else that might impinge upon your viewing pleasure. There is a nice sheen of fairly natural grain that pervades the piece, giving it a suitably warm, filmic edge; but this, coupled with an occasional, faint lack of clarity sometimes make the image feel a tiny bit softer than you might have otherwise expected for such a recent, comparatively high profile release. The colour scheme is broad and well-represented, tones across the wide palette coming to life with great vibrancy, particularly when it comes to the realistically variable skin tones (for once they are not all fake tanned to hell!) and the various colourful outfits. Black levels are also strong, solid and deep, allowing for excellent shadow detail, with no signs of crush whatsoever. It’s certainly not a stunning video presentation, and will likely never amount to much as a demo title, but it’s still a very good rendition that promotes the material well.
To accompany the movie we get a decent but, again, unexceptional dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array irrespective of the background noises – even the noisiest bars do not suffocate the words – and this is clearly of importance considering that this is a largely dialogue-driven affair. Effects are almost entirely low-key atmospherics – the aforementioned bar scenes marking perhaps the most aggressive background offering – but they are well represented, allowing some nice surround and occasional rear action. The score is also a key player, and the numerous well-chosen tracks enhance the feature no end, and are given commensurate presentation across the array. Although the LFE channel is not given anything particularly bombastic to play with, it does well to brood in the background and enhance the presence of the track. Far from a demo quality offering, perhaps in a large part because of the inherent limitations of the material, this is still a very good track that presents the film well.
Although this Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy release of Crazy Stupid Love does not come packed with extra features, the small selection that we are provided with certainly pulls this title out of bare bones disc territory.
Steve and Ryan Walk Into A Bar – Literally doing what it says on the cover, this 7 minute Featurette has the two lead actors sitting across a bar reminiscing on the production, their co-stars’ contributions, their own parts, and the fun that they had. A little fluffy, and packed with final film clips, it is thankfully still quite fun and easy to watch.
The Player Meets His Match – A further 6 minutes with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone this time, far less fun, and just as fluffy, where the offer little background information into their respective characters and their chemistry on set; again, it’s interspliced with far too many film clips.
At least this is one department where they get it right, the 12 minutes of excised scenes including several smart lines and fun gags that would have amped up the film’s comedy quota no end; whether or not that would have been a good thing is another question – as the more Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen-style dialogue here is hilarious but probably ill-suited to this particular piece – although it’s certainly nice to have them all presented here to have a chuckle over. Stone’s character (as well as her best friend) is assisted no end by an extended scene, but both Gosling and Carell also get some great added moments – perhaps the only thing that would have worked counterproductively is the U-haul scene which, whilst tying up a (minor) loose end in the plot, would have come at a wholly inappropriate time.
A standard Hollywood rom-com with heart, or a dramatic indie piece with shallow mainstream aspirations, Crazy, Stupid, Love remains one of this year’s better romantic comedy dramas, balancing a bit of everything in a heady mix which will have you laughing and sighing throughout, undoubtedly blissfully caught up in the convoluted love-lives of a trio of disparate, interconnected couples. That it can just about juggle clichéd genre tropes in new and refreshing ways and provide us with well-developed characters in genuinely true-to-life situations, whilst also getting a few laughs and plucking a few heart-strings at the same time is quite a feat really, and, whilst the movie never quite establishes itself as an outright (potential) classic of the genre, it still manages to defy boundaries, and expectations.
On Region Free US Blu-ray we get very good (but not quite demo quality) video and audio, as well as a small selection of extras to round off the disc, making for a decent enough release to tempt fans into buying it. Newcomers who prefer their rom-coms to be fun but also reasonably substantial should consider this a sure-fire winner, and a blind buy to boot. Certainly I would recommend a rental, I find it hard to think that this movie could disappoint. Recommended.
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