Directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon
Their debut feature, I Love You Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey as a flamboyant con-man, felt designed to shock. But Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's new film, Crazy, Stupid, Love, is at once more family-orientated and far superior.
Teaming them with Hollywood's latest comedy king, Steve Carell, The Office star plays Cal, a middle-aged frump whose wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce. Decamping to a bar where the clientele is half his age, Cal tells his sob story to anyone who'll listen, a practice that gets noticed by Jacob (Gosling), a stylish-looking regular.
He decides to give him a makeover ("be better than the Gap" he tells him) and mentor him in the art of seduction. The scenes of Cal crashing and burning in front of numerous women - not least Marisa Tomei - are as heartbreaking as they are hilarious.
If Carell offers a smart study of middle-age malaise, Gosling is triumphant as the slick womaniser (who, according to Emma Stone, playing one of his more lasting conquests, looks "Photoshopped" with his shirt off). The result is an upscale adult comedy with something to say about marriage and commitment. Hollywood take note: more like this, please.