Thursday Trailer Face-Off! Everything Must Go vs. Crazy, Stupid, Love

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Published April 7, 2011

 

Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of two hours. This week, Everything Must Go and Crazy, Stupid, Love, two movies starring comedy juggernauts (and Office managers!) as men who can only find themselves after their lives fall apart.

 

 

PremiseEverything Must Go and Crazy, Stupid, Love are both movies about the kind of midlife crises brought on by uncontrollable events: in the former, Will Ferrell’s character loses his job, and in the latter, Steve Carell’s character’s wife (Julianne Moore) tells him she’s been having an affair. The rest of each movie is about the path the guy takes to regain control: in Everything Must Go, Ferrell befriends a neighborhood kid, holds a multi-day yard sale, and has a tussle or two with a policeman. In Crazy, Stupid, Love, Carell befriends a ladies’ man he meets at a urinal (Ryan Gosling), gets a makeover, and has a different sort of tussle with Marisa Tomei. Tough call, but we’ll give it to Everything Must Go for a slightly more unique take on the whole middle-aged ennui thing. Winner: Everything Must Go

Lead ActorWe’d be remiss in not mentioning that it’s a little uncanny to be pitting these two gentlemen against each other at this particular moment in time; when Steve Carell announced he’d be leaving his iconic role on The Office at the end of this season, NBC cast Will Ferrell as his temporary replacement as manager of the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch. Ferrell and Carell’s first episode together is a week from today; Carell departs for good on April 28. The two stars are on pretty equal footing: they’re both in their mid-40s and are probably the two most prominent comedians in their age group. Ferrell’s been a comedy fixture for longer (he started on Saturday Night Live in 1995, while Carell’s breakout spot on The Daily Show didn’t start until 1999), but the difference is mostly negligible. We’re happy to see either one anchor a movie (which reminds us, both were great in Anchorman!)—or, for that matter, manage an office. Winner: Draw

Supporting CastTough category: we just love Laura Dern, one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, who plays Ferrell’s estranged wife in Everything Must Go. But then, Julianne Moore, who plays the corresponding role in Crazy, Stupid, Love, is also fantastic! And the role of the rebound love interest is pretty evenly matched: Crazy, Stupid, Love‘s Marisa Tomei is an Oscar winner, but Everything Must Go‘s Rebecca Hall is just so likeable! Everything Must Go ups the ante with Christopher Jordan Wallace, the 14-year-old son of Biggie and Faith Evans. But ultimately, it can’t compete with the rest of the supporting cast of Crazy, Stupid, Love: we’re so excited to see Ryan Gosling (our pretend boyfriend) and Emma Stone (our pretend alter-ego) finally fall in love with each other; and Kevin Bacon and Josh Groban are also in the movie! (If you don’t know why Groban’s a wonderful choice, watch this video of him singing Kanye West’s tweets.) Winner: Crazy, Stupid, Love

DirectorEverything Must Go was adapted and directed by Dan Rush—and is his only IMDb credit so far! He’s a mystery. Crazy, Stupid, Love was co-directed by two guys: John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, who together have written several films including Bad Santa and also directed Jim Carrey vehicle I Love You, Phillip Morris (AKA “the gay prison movie”). Extra points for their first shared writing credit: seminal ’90s Nickelodeon show The Angry Beavers. Winner: Crazy, Stupid, Love

ScriptDan Rush wrote Everything Must Go in addition to directing it, and again, he’s an enigma. But it’s based on a very good Raymond Carver short story, “Why Don’t You Dance.” (It does seem like an exceedingly loose adaptation, not least because if you filmed the story exactly as written, the movie would be 15 minutes long.) Crazy, Stupid, Love is an original story by Dan Fogelman, who’s mostly been associated with kiddie fare (Tangled, Bolt, Cars) thus far. We’re more interested in Rush’s script, mostly because it takes some chutzpah to dare adapt a Carver story in a world where Robert Altman’s masterful Short Cuts exists. Crazy, Stupid, Love also loses points for its boring, strangely punctuated title. Winner: Everything Must Go

LaughsThere’s a good sight gag at the beginning of the Everything Must Go trailer: when he’s fired, Ferrell is given a Swiss-army knife as a parting gift, which he promptly uses to slash his ex-boss’s tires, not realizing his name is engraved on it. But Crazy, Stupid, Love opens with some equally good physical comedy: after Julianne Moore tells Steve Carell that she’s slept with someone else and tries to keep talking about it, he just literally opens the door and falls out of the passenger seat of their car. Then, both trailers add insult to injury for our hapless heroes: in Everything Must Go, some teenagers tell Ferrell he’s too old to be drinking a Slurpee, while Carell’s co-worker tries to reassure him that a divorce isn’t as bad as what they all assumed was happening to him (cancer). These trailers are both really funny, and they’re structured so similarly that it’s hard to pick a winner. But Crazy, Stupid, Love wins on the strength of Julianne Moore’s delivery of a single line: “When I told you I had to work late, I really went to see the new Twilight movie by myself. And it was so bad!” She’s totally right, no matter which Twilight movie she’s talking about. Winner: Crazy, Stupid, Love

The VerdictEverything Must Go will probably be a very funny and occasionally melancholic take on the trappings of suburban middle age, and it’s far from our intention to discourage anyone from seeing it. It looks good! But Crazy, Stupid, Love looks great. Everything about it seems so charming: Ryan Gosling giving Steve Carell a makeover (we know firsthand that they have chemistry—you should read their interview from our Gosling cover story); Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone flirting; Steve Carell and Julianne Moore hopefully working it all out. When can we see this movie?! Winner: Crazy, Stupid, Love